Tag: Bonanza

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

A ten-dollar word worth its weight in gold

Once in a while I like to take a break from delving into a video game or bothering you all about my life and talk about another one of my favorite things: The written word.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really an update on my Senior Honors Project. I have been working on that a bit recently, but not in any capacity to show something off.

Instead I wanted to bring back something that I haven’t really done since last summer. A ten-dollar word of the day.

Sometimes I just find a word that stands out for one reason or another, and it makes for some good filler content on a day when not a lot else has gone on.

However, today’s word isn’t quite as (from my point of view) underutilized as something like “proselytize.” In fact, you just might recognize it from my own recent lexicon.


Bonanza

Definition 1:

  1. Something that is very valuable, profitable or rewarding.
  2. A very large amount.
  3. Extravaganza.

Definition 2:

  1. An exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit (as of an ore, precious metal or petroleum while mining).

via the Merriam-Webster dictionary


Yeah that’s right, I’m pulling out that word from my post headline yesterday. Looking it up to see if it was the word I actually wanted to use was what inspired me to talk about it more, actually.

I re-ordered the list of definitions from Merriam-Webster here on my blog to put what I would consider the more common usage on top.

After all,  I personally happen to know the word “bonanza” in reference to something like an extravaganza, or simply something valuable.

But it threw me for a loop to see that the term apparently has roots in the mining industry!

Looking for some more information on that origin led me down an interesting little rabbit hole. I discovered a website called mining.com for example, which apparently covers news regarding different precious metals and their market prices. They also apparently do things like advertise mining-related novels, which is where I found the “bonanza” connection.

Another blog I found off-shooting the Collins Dictionary stipulates that the word came to be popularly used with mining successes as a result of its Spanish origin, where the term meant “calm sea” in reference to an expression of good news for sailors and fisherman.

The general “good fortune” expression wound up being used in the mining industry as well.

This all actually makes some sense considering the more modern usage of the word as being an extravagant event or a rewarding situation. It just comes off of a root that threw me off-kilter — enough to spent at least a little bit of time digging deeper.

Isn’t that the beauty of a language like English, with so many intermingling influences?

While looking for the definition of the term bonanza, I also happened to come across a totally different and interesting off-shoot of the term. One that might be a bit more recognizable for a crowd older than I am.

There was a television show that ran on NBC for nearly 15 years called “Bonanza” based on a group of cowboys tending to their ranch and the surrounding community during and after the Civil War.

This show apparently had 430 episodes, so I’m pretty surprised I’ve never heard of it! Especially considering how much of an old Hollywood fan my dad is.

The western was also popular enough to have a few continuation movies into the 80’s and 90’s according to the IMDb page on its producer, David Dortort.

So there you go! Bonanza. Parties, gold mining and cowboys. Romeo would probably be proud of just how much is in this name in particular.

You know, once he got over the fact that televisions are a thing that exist. Or electricity in general for that matter.


Featured image courtesy of Marshman via Wikimedia Commons