I was reading Suzanne Brockmann's novel The Defiant Hero, and I came across this phrase:

as they crossed the roof on their bondoons.

I had no idea what bondoons were. My dictionary didn't list the term. But a quick web search revealed the answer, in a thread about sniglets. One of the thread participants had emailed Brockmann about the word, and Brockmann had replied:

It's actually made up word—a euphemism for one's bottom that my husband created when our kids were little.

It actually first came to be as “bondoony.” Which is a somewhat silly word that made everyone laugh—especially the two-year-olds who often fell on their bondoonies.

It turns out there are a couple of other instances of the term on the web, most notably a thread from a system optimization forum from 2000:

Now there's a large pain in the bondoons.

The reason that's notable is that the book came out in 2001; presumably other people had picked up the word from Brockmann and her family before the book was published.

Google also gives a search result that includes the phrase “sitting at home on our fat bondoons,” but the article that that allegedly appears in doesn't actually contain that phrase, and Google's cached copy says the term appears only in pages linking to that page. Odd and confusing.

Anyway, pleased to be able to find the answer to the mystery so easily; thanks to the person who emailed Brockmann for asking and posting, and thanks to Brockmann for responding to that question.

Update in 2024: Comments on this post indicate that the word has been in use for a long time, and may have come from people of Irish descent. So my new theory is that Brockmann’s husband didn’t invent the word—for example, maybe he had heard it at some point and forgotten it, so he thought he had invented it, or maybe Brockmann misunderstood what he said about it, or something.

But the word doesn’t appear in any of my dictionaries, including my slang dictionary. (Though I don’t have access to the full OED, so I haven’t checked that.) So I’ve now dropped a note to the Merriam-Webster people to ask them about it.

7 Responses to “bondoon”

  1. Lori Weingarten

    I am a bit confused about this word bondoon. My grandmother was using this word with me and my siblings when we were children. This is almost 30 years ago. Strange. I can find no info online other than this post.

  2. gandteea

    My grandmother-in law used the word (early 1970’s) to describe the ‘heel’ of a bread loaf or of a sliced pan. She was in Cork, southern Ireland. I suppose that’s another type of bottom.

    • Nancy Conway

      My family used it. It came from my dad’s family who were Irish ☘️ descent in NYC from the Bronx.

  3. Jed

    Fascinating! Now I wonder whether Brockmann’s husband had heard it somewhere else, or whether it’s a case of parallel word evolution. Thanks for letting me know!


    I think the word indeed must have originated in Ireland. In the late 1960’s, I knew a man then in his 40s, born and raised in Philadelphia but of Irish ancestry on both sides of his family, who used the word “bondoon” as a slang for buttocks.

    First time I’ve been on this site. It looks like a good one!

  5. SerraM

    Like others, I came upon this thread after searching for the origin of “bondoon”. My family has been using this word as slang for the butt since my earliest memory. My mother said it started with my great-grandmother who emigrated from Tipperary, Ireland in the 1880’s. So I thought that was interesting because then it dates back a lot further than we thought!

  6. ada

    I’m currently watching a documentary about the New York Dolls (band from 70s) and the singer uses the word “bondoons” during one of the interviews. He’s talking into the camera and a woman they know tries to sit in front of him and he says, “Wait a minute, sweetheart. Get your bondoons outta here.”


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