Meanings: “Bonfire”

May 29, 2011

A casual mention of a “bonfire” took me to wondering about the origin of that term:  a fire, yes, but why a “bon” fire?  I couldn’t think of another English word that uses “bon” as a prefix, and it seemed unlikely that the French “bon” was the origin.  Indeed not.  Here’s the etymology from


Word History

“A fire in which bones were burned:”  the word origin gives dimension to “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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One Response to Meanings: “Bonfire”

  1. betty says:

    I do not like this

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