Boom or Boon?


How do you know when something big and positive that happens should be called a boom or boon? The words are a lot closer than you think.

If something big happens, it is a boom or boon? 

This is one of those questions, for me at least, that you know the answer to immediately…until you start thinking about it. Then you second guess yourself. By the time you stop overthinking it, you’re confused.

Boom or Boon?

The two words sound and are spelled nearly alike. They’re not quite alike enough to be described as homonyms. But the similarity in the two words might cause a bit of confusion on its own.

When you look at the definitions for the two words, you realize how close they actually are.

Boom can be a noun or verb. It can refer to a sudden rapid growth or expansion that often comes with an increase in prices or a big jump in success. The verb form refers to the action of such growth.

Boon, on the other hand, is a noun referring to a benefit or favor or a timely benefit. Another source listed it as something to be thankful for.

An increase in population can lead to a construction boom — a sudden growth in the amount of houses being built. More houses could mean more traffic. But the added revenue through property taxes could be a boon for the local economy.

There was a major population boom in the 1960s. The world population jumped from 3 million in 1960 to 4 million in just 14 years. By comparison, it took 33 years for the world’s population to jump from 2 million to 3 million, and even longer — 127 years — to go from 1 billion in 1800 to 2 million in 1927.

As all of that growth in population continues to increase, we’re projected to reach 8 billion people by 2023.

That news will likely not be a boon for the environment unless we find a way to get serious about battling climate change.

The easiest way to keep the two straight might be to consider the sound of an explosion and the word benefit. 

boom is the sound of an explosion (which is another definition of the word). But it means a sudden big change, just like an explosion.

For boon, the B and N in boon matches the B and N in benefit.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.