Definition of bonsai in English:



mass noun
  • 1The art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed varieties of trees and shrubs in pots.

    • ‘In Japanese bonsai can be translated as ‘tray planting’ and for the Japanese it represents a fusion of ancient beliefs with eastern philosophies of harmony.’
    • ‘The nation that dreamed up bonsai and origami and leads the world in nanotechnology prefers life to be bite-size, delicate, petite.’
    • ‘Mr Bolton has been practising the art of bonsai for more than 30 years and has around 50 different trees.’
    • ‘The trees belonged to her husband Thomas, 57, a self-employed window cleaner, who has been growing bonsai for more than ten years.’
    • ‘Decide what your tree will look like ten years down the road; bonsai rewards the patient and the far-sighted and teaches it to those of us who are neither’
    • ‘Mr Hawksby said the Scottish contingent were all people he met while exhibiting or teaching bonsai at shows.’
    • ‘As the art of bonsai demonstrates, you can limit almost any tree to any size by careful pruning.’
    • ‘‘I became interested in their culture and took formal training in art, bonsai and ikebana,’ she says.’
    • ‘Ma compared this kind of ‘fill empty space’ sculpture to bonsai.’
    • ‘Barry's a horticulturist and I just love growing things so we bought a cedar tree and a book on the basics of bonsai.’
    • ‘These miniature trees made famous from the Japanese art of bonsai can be found all over Asia, in China, Thailand, Vietnam and other cultures.’
    • ‘He has been experimenting with miniature gardens since he was about seven - encouraged by his mother, whose interests included bonsai.’
    • ‘Don't miss Kinokuniya Bookstore, where you will find everything from collections of Japanese poetry to books on the art of 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).’
    • ‘It wasn't until Japan exhibited at the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris that bonsai resurfaced on the international stage.’
    • ‘This is also manifest in things like bonsai, where control of form and nature is more important to aesthetic beauty than the wild lines of real nature.’
    • ‘Even books on bonsai were not available then.’
    1. 1.1count noun An ornamental tree or shrub grown using the art of bonsai.
      • ‘It was built into what looked like a huge, fifty foot tall bonsai tree.’
      • ‘She quickly misted her bonsai tree and then laid down on her bed and finished writing her letter.’
      • ‘Among the collections are a few soil-less bonsai.’
      • ‘She explained that a bonsai tree could easily outlive its owner if properly cared for.’
      • ‘On display are more than 20 varieties of bonsai.’
      • ‘Bonsai tree wiring is an advanced skill to grow the bonsai into an art form.’
      • ‘This presentation, the second in a series, showcases excellent bonsai from the very best artists in the world.’
      • ‘Her kimono was sky blue and had a bonsai tree sewn into the sleeves.’
      • ‘But he said that he will not part with any of the bonsai from his collection even if a bigger price were to be offered.’
      • ‘I just answered a post from a lady who had cared for her beautiful bonsai for 9 years and couldn't figure out why it was slipping away this season.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Seeing that he had a green thumb from a young age, the friend suggested specialising in some particular form like the bonsai or cacti.’
      • ‘Our hotel had the most exquisite gardens with bonsai and frangipani trees everywhere.’
      • ‘Fifty species of bonsai, comprising trees and shrubs, are on display.’
      • ‘The aristocrats of plants grown in pots are bonsai, perfectly normal garden trees skilfully trained to grow as miniatures ranging from three inches to three feet tall.’
      • ‘When she arrived, she gazed upon a very old bonsai tree that lay rooted in the middle of a serene rock garden.’
      • ‘He owns a great website helping people find out more about the bonsai tree.’
      • ‘Given an adequate supply of water, air and light, a properly maintained bonsai should outlive a full-size tree of the same species.’
      • ‘On display is a range of artificial bonsai plants that can enliven your rooms.’
      • ‘My problem is that I live in an apartment and have a lot of cacti, bonsai and orchids but I am unable to put them in a correct place.’


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