What Is the Origin of the Word Bonanza?

A windfall of cash would be a bonanza for those who caught it.
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Bonanza, as a modern English word, has several variant definitions that usually refer to a source of great wealth, based on its origins in Greek, Latin and Spanish.

1 English Definitions

English usage of bonanza dates back to at least 1829, according Merriam-Webster. Basic definitions are "something that produces very good results for someone or something" and "a large amount of something valuable." It can also refer to a large deposit of rich minerals.

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2 Bonanza Etymology

The English word "bonanza" is taken from the modern Spanish language. In Spanish, "bonanza" literally means "calm sea," which implies prosperity and also refers to a rich lode. The Spanish is derived from the Vulgar Latin "bonacia." "Bonacia" is a combination of the Latin "bonus," which means "good," and "malacia," which means "calm sea." "Malacia" comes from the Greek "malakia," which means "softness."

Gina Poirier has a professional background in nonprofit administration and management, primarily with youth development organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage.