Pronounced: pro say
Notes: I don’t know this phrase, but if I were better at languages, I could probably work it out
The word boniface is “an innkeeper or landlord, usually of a kind nature”
The word goes back to the mid-1700s
Background / Comments
Despite the actual year it came into our language, our word seems to me to have an old-world charm and seems to belong to the days of chivalry and knights. In reality, our word comes from a character in a 1707 play: The Beaux’ Strategem by George Farquhar. “Boniface” was the name of a jovial innkeeper in the play. It must have been popular and memorable, because it became a word not too many years later. Interestingly enough, that same play is also the origin of Lady Bountiful; I’ve run across the expression do the Lady Bountiful in my reading, which has the uncomplimentary meaning of “being generous in order to show off one’s wealth in a patronizing way”.