Bon viveur

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"Pain and Champaign" (A gouty man at table with a bon viveur drinking champagne)

The phrase bon viveur is a pseudo-French phrase adopted in English in the mid 19th century, modelled on the French bon vivant "one who lives well", i.e. referring to a person who enjoys the good things of life.

The phrase is not derogatory but conveys a sense of overindulgence.[1] In his book, Mind the Gaffe, professor Larry Trask advised that the phrase is pretentious.[2]

The type was exemplified by Johnnie Cradock who, with his wife Fanny, wrote a restaurant review column in the Daily Telegraph using Bon viveur as a nom de plume. Other examples include Clement Freud, John Mortimer and Michael Winner.[3]

Food and drink writer Benjamin Nunn uses the nom de plume Ben Viveur as a play on words.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Francis Pocock, Jeremy MacClancy (1998), Understanding Social Anthropology, p. 210 
  2. ^ R. L. Trask (2003), Mind the Gaffe: the Penguin Guide to Common Errors in English 
  3. ^ Tony Thorne (2011), The 100 Words That Make the English, Hachette, p. 37–38, ISBN 9780748131747