The Meaning of Bon Appetit: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of bon appetit? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the French phrase bon appetit, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the term bon appetit mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and The Idioms, the French phrase bon appetit literally translates to “good appetite.” This phrase is used in English to mean “enjoy your meal,” and to wish people a hearty and healthy appetite for their dining experience. The correct pronunciation drops the last t sound, bust most English-speakers leave it in. There is debate about whether native French-speakers use the phrase, but it is certainly common in the English language. 

While in English we borrow the French bon appetit as a wish of enjoyment before a mean, many other languages use phrases of their own. You may notice that some of these phrases look similar to each other. These are called cognates, which is when two words or phrases look, sound, and mean something similar between languages. These are often formed when two words or languages have the same root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the phrase bon appetit is provided by Word Sense

  • Maltese: l-ikla t-tajba‎
  • Cyrillic: пријатно‎, добар тек‎
  • Portuguese: bom apetite‎, bom proveito‎
  • Norwegian: velbekomme‎, spis godt‎ håper det smaker‎
  • Danish: velbekomme‎
  • Faroese: væl gagnist‎
  • Belarusian: сма́чна е́сці‎
  • Malay: selamat makan‎, selamat menjamu selera‎
  • Latin: bene sapiat‎
  • Kazakh: ас болсын‎
  • Italian: buon appetito‎
  • Roman: prijatno‎, dobar tek‎
  • Dutch: smakelijk eten‎, eet smakelijk‎
  • Kyrgyz: аш болсун‎
  • French: bon appétit‎, bon ap’‎ (informal)
  • Slovene: dober tek‎
  • Tahitian: tama’a maita’i‎
  • Latvian: labu apetīti‎
  • Thai: เชิญทานครับ‎, เชิญทานค่ะ‎, ขอให้เจริญอาหาร‎ (kŏr hâi jà-rern aa-hăan)
  • Hungarian: jó étvágyat‎
  • Levantine Arabic: صَحْتِين‎ (ṣaḥtēn)
  • Lao: ຈະເຣີນອາຫານ‎
  • Mandarin: (lit. “eat slowly” but used in the same context) 慢慢吃‎ (mànmàn chī), 請慢用‎, 请慢用‎ (qǐng màn yòng)
  • Arabic: بِالْهَنَاء وَالشِّفَاء‎ (bi-l-hanāʾ wa-š-šifāʾ), شَهْيَة طَيِّبَة‎, بِالصِّحَّة وَالْعَافِيَة‎ (bi-ṣ-ṣiḥḥa(t) wa-l-ʿāfiya)
  • Icelandic: verði þér að góðu‎, verði ykkur að góðu‎
  • Georgian: ღმერთმა შეგარგოთ‎, გაამოთ‎, გაამოს‎
  • Khmer: សុភោជន‎ (so’pʰoucʊən), សុរសភោជន‎ (so’ra’ sɑɑ pʰoocʊən)
  • Czech: dobrou chuť‎
  • Tatar: тәмле булсын‎
  • German: guten Appetit‎, (singular informal) lass es dir schmecken‎, (plural informal) lasst es euch schmecken‎, (formal) lassen Sie es sich schmecken‎, (colloquial) Mahlzeit‎
  • Vietnamese: ăn nào‎, ăn ngon nhé‎, chúc ngon miệng‎
  • Catalan: bon profit‎
  • Finnish: hyvää ruokahalua‎
  • Swedish: smaklig måltid‎
  • Egyptian Arabic: بالهنا والشفا‎ (be-l-hana we-šefa)
  • Greek: καλή όρεξη‎
  • Veps: hüväd litud‎
  • Slovak: dobrú chuť‎
  • Armenian: բարի ախորժակ‎
  • Romanian: poftă bună‎
  • Korean: 맛있게 드세요‎ (masitge deuseyo)
  • Hindi: सुख भोजन‎ (sukh bhojan)
  • Lithuanian: gero apetito‎, skanaus‎
  • Spanish: buen provecho‎, que aproveche‎, buen apetito‎
  • Crimean Tatar: aş olsun‎
  • Polish: smacznego‎
  • Chinese:
  • Xhosa: ukonwabele ukutya kwakho‎
  • Estonian: head isu‎
  • Udmurt: ческыд мед кошкоз‎
  • Afrikaans: lekker eet‎
  • Kannada: ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಊಟ ಮಾಡಿ‎
  • Albanian: ju bëftë mirë‎, t’boftë mire‎
  • Hebrew: בְּתֵאָבוֹן‎ (b’te’avón)
  • Indonesian: selamat makan‎
  • Serbo-Croatian:
  • Uzbek: yoqimli ishtaha‎
  • Alemannic German: en Guete‎
  • Persian: نوش جان‎ (nuš-e jân)
  • Turkish: afiyet olsun‎
  • Basque: on egin‎, on dagizula‎, on dagizuela‎
  • Mongolian: сайхан хооллоорой‎, хооллоорой‎
  • Japanese: どうぞ召し上がれ‎ (dōzo meshiagare), どうぞごゆっくり‎ (dōzo go-yukkuri) (lit. “do it slowly” but used in the same context)
  • Bulgarian: бон апети́‎, до́бър апети́т‎
  • Esperanto: bonan apetiton‎
  • Russian: прия́тного аппети́та‎ (prijátnovo appetíta) 
  • Ukrainian: смачно́го‎
  • Azeri: nuş olsun‎

What are synonyms for the term bon appetit?

There are a few different English phrases that one can use in place of the term bon appetit. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as other words and phrases. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the phrase bon appetit is provided by Thesaurus.

  • good appetite
  • enjoy your meal
  • eat hearty!
  • chow down!
  • eat up!

How can the term bon appetit be used in a sentence?

The phrase bon appetit will most likely be used as an interjection by someone who is serving food. In this first example, Jamal and Safia are out to dinner for Safia’s birthday. The waiter brings out the main course.

Waiter: The shrimp?

Jamal: That’s me. Thank you.

Waiter. Bon appetit, sir. And the steak for the lady. Bon appetit.

Safia: Thank you!

Waiter: Of course. Enjoy, and let me know if you need anything.

Here, the waiter says bon appetit to both Jamal and Safia, wishing them a good meal. In this next example, Safia has made breakfast for Jamal on his birthday. 

Safia: Bon appetit, birthday boy!

Jamal: Oh my God, this looks amazing. Eggs, pancakes, bacon. Thank you so much.

Safia: Of course, eat up! You’re going to need to eat a big breakfast if we’re going to be out in Vegas all night.

Jamal: Vegas tickets?! Wow!

Here, Safia uses the phrase bon appetit as a way of wishing that Jamal will enjoy his special breakfast. The term bon appetit is almost always used by someone who is serving someone else food. Someone might even use it for their pets! The phrase could also be used sarcastically. For example, if someone burnt something in the oven, or if they were trying to serve a young child medicine that tastes bad. This phrase is usually associated with a meal. While we do not know if French people actually use this phrase, this French term has become popular in the English language. 

Overall, the phrase bon appetit is French for “good appetite.” This phrase is used to wish someone enjoyment of their meal. While it is unclear if a French person would actually use this phrase, English-speakers certainly do. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/bon_appetit/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/bon%20appetit
  3. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bon%20app%C3%A9tit
  4. https://www.theidioms.com/bon-appetit/