Word of the Day – June 28, 2012

bonhomie (noun)

bah nuh MEE

easy good humor; easygoing friendliness; amiability: French, bon, good + homme, man (“bonhomous” is the adjective)

Most politicians are born, whereas Richard Nixon is a made politician. He once remarked to me: “I just can’t be a buddy-buddy boy.” Natural politicians are buddy-buddy boys by instinct — they are bonhomous fellows, always ready with the smile and the slap on the back. Richard Nixon has never slapped a back in his life, and his smile often seems a difficult muscular exercise. He is so totally non-bonhomous that his small talk, as on that occasion at the Lincoln Memorial, can be agonizingly embarrassing. Nowadays, for the ceremonial and social occasions at which a President is expected to display bonhomie, aides prepare for the President suggested topics of meaningless conversation plus a selection of small jokes.
Stewart Alsop     February 1972

… from More Words That Make A Difference

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