Definition of bonsai in English:

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Pronunciation: /bänˈsī/ Pronunciation: /ˈbänˌsī/

noun (plural same)

(also bonsai tree)
1An ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot and artificially prevented from reaching its normal size.
Example sentences
  • Cultivating a bonsai tree requires some care and attention, but as a reward it brings tranquility to the mind, a feeling of being refreshed and, inner peace.
  • Her kimono was sky blue and had a bonsai tree sewn into the sleeves.
  • She explained that a bonsai tree could easily outlive its owner if properly cared for.
1.1The art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed trees or shrubs.
Example sentences
  • Ma compared this kind of ‘fill empty space’ sculpture to bonsai.
  • Many of the folks in my bonsai group un-pot their trees in early fall and plant them back in the ground on top of a piece of slate or the like (to prevent deep rooting).
  • These miniature trees made famous from the Japanese art of bonsai can be found all over Asia, in China, Thailand, Vietnam and other cultures.


1950s: from Japanese, from bon 'tray' + sai 'planting'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bon·sai

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