One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adjectiveScottish, Northern English
1Attractive or beautiful.‘a bonny lass’
beautiful, attractive, handsome, pretty, gorgeous, good-looking, nice-looking, well favoured, fetching, prepossessing, ravishing, stunningView synonyms
- ‘One of the younger men on the boat laughed at me, and called me bonny lass for having done such a thing.’
- ‘Why do you need a bus when you have a bonny lass to drive you to school today?’
- ‘I didn't really know Laura but I've seen her in the village and she was a bonny girl.’
- ‘The mask of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) is anything but bonnie.’
- ‘‘Give us a smile, bonny lass,’ said the young sentry in a sweet Geordie voice as I walked past pretending to be invisible.’
- ‘He has a devoted wife and a brace of bonnie offspring.’
- ‘We were driving around Speyside the other day looking for bonny purple heather and found that the hillsides were blanketed with the dull cerise of willow-herb.’
- ‘Outwardly bonny, Nikki is damaged by her past, and each month with Hamish is marked off as an anniversary.’
- ‘It was not an auspicious start for bonny prince Charlie.’
- ‘These powerful images are a far cry from Scottish artist John Finnie's 1864 idealised Maids of All Work, looking blithe and bonny in crisp cottons.’
- ‘It was truly kind of the hairdresser to come to my house with his bonny male assistant.’
- ‘Isobelle is my grand niece and a bonny little thing she is.’
- ‘‘You've come a long way,’ said Naomi, the casting director's assistant who was bonny and bright.’
- ‘She is a larger than life Earth Mother: bonny, capable, strong and energetic.’
- ‘From here we can also see cars blitzing their way north as the A9 snakes through some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery close to bonny Loch Alvie.’
- 1.1 (of a baby) plump and healthy-looking.
- ‘She now holds her bonny baby as if he is the only light in her life.’
- ‘There are just a few days left to enter your bonny baby into this year's Baby of the Year competition.’
- ‘There will be a dog show at 1pm, bonny baby at 2.30 pm, fancy dress at 3pm followed by Best Dressed Lady at 3.30 pm.’
- ‘The church bells rang out as families with bonny babies filled the church for a baptism service.’
- ‘We have events for all generations from bonny baby, kids fancy dress, children's tug-o-war to our most appropriately dressed lady and gentleman.’
- 1.2 Sizable; considerable (usually expressing approval)‘it's worth a thousand pounds, a bonny sum’
fairly large, substantial, considerable, respectable, significant, largish, biggish, decent, decent-sized, generous, handsomeView synonyms
- ‘Keith believes his Grandpa got less than £5000 for the farm (still, a bonny sum in the early 50s).’
Scottish, Northern English
Used as a form of address for one's beloved or baby.
- ‘My bonnie lies over the sea.’
- ‘My bonnie lies over the ocean.’
- ‘So bring back me bonnie to moi.’
Late 15th century: perhaps related to Old French bon ‘good’.
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.