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[buh-nan-zuh, boh-] /bəˈnæn zə, boʊ-/
a rich mass of ore, as found in mining.
a source of great and sudden wealth or luck; a spectacular windfall:
The play proved to be a bonanza for its lucky backers.
Origin of bonanza
1835-45, Americanism; < Spanish: literally, smooth sea (hence, good luck, rich vein of ore), nasalized variant of Medieval Latin bonacia, equivalent to Latin bon(us) good + (mal)acia calm sea < Greek malakía softness (malak(ós) soft + -ia -ia) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bonanza
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After spending the wealth acquired from the bonanza of Tasco, he started off in search of new adventures and a new fortune.

    Mexico and its Religion Robert A. Wilson
  • That ain't any bonanza country any more; 1901 ain't like 1870; don't figure on that.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Pentfield went back to his bonanza mine, which was many times more dreary than before, and faced resolutely into the long winter.

    The Faith of Men Jack London
  • When they reached bonanza the sun was low, and when they were off San Lucar it had begun to sink.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • The first stream which flows into the river from the southward is the bonanza, some twenty-five miles long.

    Klondike Nuggets E. S. Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for bonanza


a source, usually sudden and unexpected, of luck or wealth
(US & Canadian) a mine or vein rich in ore
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, literally: calm sea, hence, good luck, from Medieval Latin bonacia, from Latin bonus good + malacia dead calm, from Greek malakia softness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bonanza

1844, American English, from Spanish bonanza "a rich lode," originally "fair weather at sea, prosperity," from Vulgar Latin *bonacia, from Latin bonus "good" (see bene-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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