Bonze | Word of the Week | DW | 04.09.2012
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Word of the Week


It's a rich man's world. Or is it?

Words in the German language that derive from Japanese are few and far between. But Bonze is one of them. The word originates from the Japanese word bōzu or bonsō, which refers to a Buddhist monk or priest.

But in modern-day Germany, the word Bonze has nothing to do with religion. Those who like to boast and are prone to ostentatious displays of their material wealth are described, disparagingly, as a Bonze. But the word is also used to describe people who use their influence and power in politics and the economy purely to further their own interests.

From the noun Bonze, there's also a colloquial adjective: Those who take pleasure in showing off their expensive cars, villas and yachts are bonzig.

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