From Middle English boon (“prayer”), from Old Norse bón (“prayer, petition”), from Proto-Germanic *bōniz (“supplication”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂ni-, *bʰeh₂- (“to say”). Influenced by boon (“good, favorable”, adj). Cognate with Swedish bön (“prayer, petition, request”), Danish bøn (“prayer”), Old English bēn (“prayer, request, favor, compulsory service”). More at ben.
boon (plural boons)
- (obsolete) A prayer; petition.
- (archaic) That which is asked or granted as a benefit or favor; a gift; a favour; benefaction; a grant; a present.
- A good; a blessing or benefit; a great privilege; a thing to be thankful for.
2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, American Scientist:
- Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. […] A photo processing technique called focus stacking has changed that. Developed as a tool to electronically combine the sharpest bits of multiple digital images, focus stacking is a boon to biologists seeking full focus on a micron scale.
- Finding the dry cave was a boon to the weary travellers. Anaesthetics are a great boon to modern surgery.
- (Britain dialectal) An unpaid service due by a tenant to his lord.
boon (not comparable)
- (obsolete) good; prosperous; as, "boon voyage"
- kind; bountiful; benign
- Which […] Nature boon / Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain.
- (Fossil word used only in idiom pairing it with subsequent "companion") gay; merry; jovial; convivial
- a boon companion, loving his bottle
- 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses Episode 16
- --No, Mr Bloom repeated again, I wouldn't personally repose much trust in that boon companion of yours who contributes the humorous element, if I were in your shoes.
- Les Misérables (musical), "Master of the House," second and third refrains, fifth line:
- (2) "Everybody's boon companion, / Everybody's chaperon"; (3) "Everybody's boon companion: / Give[s] 'em everything he's got"
- Which ... Nature boon Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain — John Milton
- A boon companion, loving his bottle — John Arbuthnot
From Gaelic and Irish via Scots.
- The woody portion of flax, separated from the fiber as refuse matter by retting, braking, and scutching.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
From Middle Dutch bone, from Old Dutch *bōna, from Proto-Germanic *baunō, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰabʰ- (“bean”). Compare Low German Bohn, German Bohne, English and West Frisian bean, Danish bønne.