hon·​cho | \ˈhän-(ˌ)chō \
plural honchos

Definition of honcho 

: boss, big shot also : hotshot

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Did You Know?

A relic of the large US presence in Japan in the years following World War II, the word honcho comes from the Japanese word hanchō meaning “leader of the squad, section, group.” We are uncertain of the exact route by which honcho found its way into American military argot in the mid-1950s, though it is known that the Japanese applied hanchō to British or Australian officers in charge of work parties in prisoner-of-war camps. By the 1960s, the word had become part of colloquial American jargon.

Examples of honcho in a Sentence

the office was all abuzz because some honchos from corporate headquarters were coming for a visit he's definitely the head honcho in that company

Recent Examples on the Web

Enter David Marcus, the former head honcho at Facebook Messenger — and a former founder who sold his most recent startup to PayPal — who’s currently running the Facebook’s new blockchain division. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook’s reputation as a good place for founders is suddenly under attack," 26 Sep. 2018 DJs for the afternoon include Jump Up! Records honcho Chuck Wren, Smoking Popes guitarist Eli Caterer, and Metal Shop DJ Nick Fury. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Music / Do This Record Store Day 2018: here's what shops are doing to celebrate in the Chicago area," 17 Apr. 2018 Untitled Document With less than ten episodes of Oprah to go, the queen of daytime paid a visit to runway honcho Ralph Lauren at his Colorado ranch yesterday. Leah Konen, ELLE Decor, "What We're Reading: May 19, 2011," 19 May 2011 When the cast starts with him and Haddish, then adds Cedric the Entertainer as the obnoxious honcho of Tray’s halfway house and Allen Maldonado as Tray’s enthusiastic and dim cousin Bobby, the show is going to be funny. Michael Ordona, latimes.com, "Tracy Morgan 'went through hell' and came back with an unusual comedy in 'The Last O.G.'," 30 May 2018 One Republican candidate, State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside, was considered a dangerous threat by Democratic honchos in Washington. George Skelton, latimes.com, "Give California’s top-two primary some more time, and if it doesn’t get better, junk it," 11 June 2018 The interview took a turn for the better when Lowe surprised Nicki with calls from Young Money head honcho Lil Wayne and Cash Money leader Birdman, who recently reunited and laid their longtime beef to rest. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Why Nicki Minaj Felt 'Ambushed' by Cardi B & Quavo After 'Motorsport'," 12 Apr. 2018 The city’s ward leaders elect the head honcho of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, and can play a major role in influencing local elections. Holly Otterbein, Philly.com, "Are Berniecrats about to take control of a South Philly ward? | Clout," 24 May 2018 Throughout the press tour for the new Ant-Man film, people have been asking Marvel honcho Kevin Feige about the future of the female heroes of the MCU. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Why Ant-Man and the Wasp's Heroine Is a Crystal Ball for Marvel," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honcho.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of honcho

1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for honcho

Japanese hanchō squad leader, from han squad + chō head, chief

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Statistics for honcho

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for honcho

The first known use of honcho was in 1945

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English Language Learners Definition of honcho

: a person who is in charge of other people

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More from Merriam-Webster on honcho

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for honcho

Spanish Central: Translation of honcho

Nglish: Translation of honcho for Spanish Speakers

Comments on honcho

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by force of circumstances

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