from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small shallow pots or trays.
  • noun A tree or shrub grown by this method.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A tree or plant that has been miniaturized by restriction of its roots and by careful pruning.

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

  • noun a dwarfed ornamental tree or shrub grown in a tray or shallow pot


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

[Japanese, potted plant : bon, basin (from Early Middle Chinese bən; also the source of Mandarin pén) + sai, to plant (from Middle Chinese tsəj; also the source of Mandarin zāi).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Japanese 盆栽 (bonsai).


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  •   "This variation of bonsai is Japanese Red Maple," the host explained.

    Garden 2010

  • The word bonsai is used in the West as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots.

    How To-Bonsai In Hypertufa « Fairegarden 2009

  • It's also used in small, desktop rock gardens and as a base in Japanese bonsai-tree kits.

    Word to Poachers 2007

  • "You can't drive down a block on Beacon Hill without seeing them," says Joel Lee of the plant sculptures he refers to as bonsai on his popular neighborhood blog.

    The Seattle Times 2011

  • In Chinese, the word bonsai means 'tree in a pot'.

    Apartment Therapy Main 2010

  • Smells delish, but the bonsai is still a little strong, so it could be lowered a little more:) It has bentonite clay beads in the top layer, and black oxide sprinkled/dusted dry between the layers.

    Bonsai & Pineapple Cilantro Anne-Marie 2008

  • Small has always been beautiful in Japan, whether you think of the mini-component audio systems the country pioneered in the 1970s, its cultural love affair with miniaturized potted plants known as bonsai, or the current rage for small-engine mini-cars. -- Top News 2010

  • A bonsai is a normal tree whose development is not halted but rather guided in order to obtain a healthy miniaturised tree.

    The Hindu - Front Page 2010

  • "We tell new people that your bonsai is your idea," Cavalli said, noting that the group is open to people of all levels.

    unknown title 2009

  • There are several varieties of this twisted specimen most prized for bonsai, which is why we have one sitting in a bonsai-in-waiting pot. 2009


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