WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2018
bon•sai /bɑnˈsaɪ, ˈbɑnsaɪ/USA pronunciation   n., pl.  -sai. 
  1. Botany a tree or shrub made very small by cutting back the roots and pinching the branches:[countable]a number of bonsai in the botanical gardens.
  2. Botany, Fine Art the art of growing such a plant:[uncountable]courses in bonsai.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2018
bon•sai  (bon sī, -zī, bōn-, bonsī, -zī, bōn-),USA pronunciation n., pl.  -sai. 
  1. Botanya tree or shrub that has been dwarfed, as by pruning the roots and pinching, and is grown in a pot or other container and trained to produce a desired shape or effect.
  2. Botany, Fine Artthe art or hobby of developing and growing such a plant or plants.
  • Middle Chinese, equivalent. to Chinese pén tray + zāi plant, shoot
  • Japanese bon-sai tray planting
  • 1945–50


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

bonsai /ˈbɒnsaɪ/ n ( pl -sai)
  1. the art of growing dwarfed ornamental varieties of trees or shrubs in small shallow pots or trays by selective pruning, etc
  2. a tree or shrub grown by this method
Etymology: 20th Century: Japanese: plant grown in a pot, from bon basin, bowl + sai to plant



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