Bonita – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Spanish is one of the most well-known languages in the world, and it is no surprise that many Spanish words have made their way into the English lexicon.

If you want a nice way to compliment the looks of an attractive girl, “bonita” is the phrase for you.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The term “bonita” translates from Spanish to mean “beautiful” or “pretty”. It is a way of complimenting a woman or object’s physical appearance, but is not used to describe one’s personality. Bonita can be used in place of beautiful, especially when referring to a woman or female.

The phrase is used as an adjective to describe something. It is only used for women, as there is a masculine counterpart to the word, “bonito”. “Bonita” can also be used as an exclamation at the beginning or end of a sentence to really emphasize the beauty of something.

The phrase can be used as a noun to refer to someone instead of their name, but context is important in these situations. In terms of relationships, “bonita” is seen as a more serious, affectionate word, so couples typically do not use it straight away. More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“That girl is so bonita.”

“Bonita! That dress looks amazing on you.”

“Have you met Mike’s girlfriend? She is very bonita.”

“Rachel looked amazing in her wedding dress. The whole ceremony was so bonita.”

“That sunset is bonita. I have never seen one like it.”

“Amber’s new haircut looks so good. She looks very bonita with it.”

Origin

The term is used in both Spanish and Portuguese culture. Though commonly used as an adjective now, it was a very popular name for female babies in Spanish-speaking countries over the past few decades, especially in the fifties, with a little more than two hundred baby girls being named “Bonita” in 1951 alone. There is even a Brazilian island given the name “La Isla Bonita”, or “Beautiful Island”.

This term is often considered very intimate and affectionate. In terms of relationships, a man may hold off on calling his partner “bonita” until a few months in, as it is typically seen as such a special nickname. But in more day-to-day situations, it is common to hear both Spanish-speakers and now English speakers alike using the phrase to refer to an object’s beauty or to compliment a woman’s appearance in a casual way.

Phrases Similar to Bonita

  • “Linda”, which means “pretty”
  • “Hermosa”, which means “beautiful”
  • “Guapa”, which also means “beautiful”
  • “Preciosa”, which means “gorgeous”
  • “Bella”, which means “beautiful” or “lovely”

Phrases Opposite to Bonita

  • Ugly/unattractive/etc.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • “Bonita” translates from Spanish to mean “beautiful” or “pretty”.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Bonita

This phrase is used to compliment a woman or object’s beauty. Using the term to mean anything else- such as, if you meant to call them ugly- would be incorrect. Some ways that “bonita” is used incorrectly are:

  • Did you see how bad Amy looked yesterday? She was bonita!
  • That is the ugliest car I have ever seen. It is very bonita.
  • All of the grass on the lawn is dead. It is a very bonita garden.
  • That dress has a bunch of holes in it and it does not fit right. It is bonita!
  • That building is clearly falling apart and has shattered glass everywhere. It is a very bonita building.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Bonita

  • You look very bonita in that dress, Ashley.
  • Rebecca had her hair and makeup done at school yesterday. She looked very bonita.
  • Did you see that painting Amanda made? It was so bonita.
  • I love all of the furniture in your house. It is very bonita.
  • I love how you painted the walls in your bedroom. This is a very bonita purple color.
  • Hola bonita, I would love to talk to you.

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