Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A benefit bestowed, especially one bestowed in response to a request.
  • n. A timely blessing or benefit: A brisk breeze is a boon to sailors.
  • adj. Convivial; jolly: a boon companion to all.
  • adj. Archaic Favorable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. good; prosperous; as, "boon voyage"
  • adj. kind; bountiful; benign
  • adj. gay; merry; jovial; convivial
  • n. A prayer; petition.
  • n. That which is asked or granted as a benefit or favor; a gift; a favour; benefaction; a grant; a present.
  • n. A good; a blessing or benefit; a great privilege; a thing to be thankful for.
  • n. An unpaid service due by a tenant to his lord.
  • n. The woody portion of flax, separated from the fiber as refuse matter by retting, braking, and scutching.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Good; prosperous.
  • adj. Kind; bountiful; benign.
  • adj. Gay; merry; jovial; convivial.
  • n. A prayer or petition.
  • n. That which is asked or granted as a benefit or favor; a gift; a benefaction; a grant; a present.
  • n. The woody portion flax, which is separated from the fiber as refuse matter by retting, braking, and scutching.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To do gratuitous service to another, as a tenant to a landlord.
  • Good: as, boon cheer.
  • Favorable; fortunate; prosperous: as, a boon voyage.
  • Kind; bounteous; yielding abundance: as, “nature boon,”
  • Gay; merry; jolly; jovial; convivial: as, a boon companion; “jocund and boon,”
  • n. A prayer; a petition.
  • n. That which is asked; a favor; a thing desired; a benefaction.
  • n. Hence A good; a benefit enjoyed; a blessing; a great privilege; a thing to be thankful for.
  • n. An unpaid service due by a tenant to his lord.
  • n. The refuse stalk of hemp or flax after the fiber has been removed by retting and breaking.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a desirable state
  • adj. very close and convivial

Etymologies

Middle English bone, from Old Norse bōn, prayer; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English bon, good, from Old French, from Latin bonus; see deu-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English boon ("prayer"), from Old Norse bόn ("prayer, petition"), from Proto-Germanic *bōniz (“supplication”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰāni-, *bʰā- (“to say”). Influenced by boon ("good, favorable", a). Cognate with Swedish bön ("prayer, petition, request"), Danish bøn ("prayer"), Old English bēn ("prayer, request, favor, compulsory service"). More at ben. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English boon, bone, from Old Northern French boon, Old French bon ("good"), from Latin bonus ("good"), from Old Latin duonus, dvenos, from Proto-Indo-European *dū- (“to respect”). (Wiktionary)
From Gaelic and Irish via Scots. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • To get out, to go abroad, to breathe in the fresh air, in any shape, is a boon—a great boon; especially to me, eligible as I am to all the delights of freedom and vigor!

    Horace Traubet, With Walt Whitman in Camden

    July 24, 2011

  • Boon, derived from Norse, by itself means a favour (pray grant me this boon: let my son live); the term boon companion means a good companion, boon in this case being derived from French bon

    December 1, 2010

  • "Then said Arthur, 'Since thou wilt not remain here, chieftain, thou shalt receive the boon, whatsoever thy tongue may name, as far as the wind dries, and the rain moistens, and the sun revolves, and the sea encircles, and the earth extends; save only my ship Prydwen, and my mantle, and Caleburn, my sword, and Rhongomyant, my lance, and Guenever, my wife.'"
    - Thomas Bulfinch, 'Age of Fable'.

    September 19, 2009

  • The stalk of flax or hemp after the fibre has been removed - OED2.

    December 28, 2008

  • Tempted to add to my Sportie: Cricket list.

    October 27, 2008