hon·​cho | \ ˈhän-(ˌ)chō How to pronounce honcho (audio) \
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

But, oddly enough, there’s a weird burst of comic relief in the episode coming from Smithereens head honcho, Billy. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "In Your Heart, You Know What Black Mirror's Billy Bauer & Smithereen Are Based On," 8 June 2019 Meanwhile, Harley honchos toured Japanese plants and came back with ideas. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Harley-Davidson CEO Made a Startling Discovery: ‘The Problem Was Us’," 31 Aug. 2018 The Disney honcho was given 60/1 odds of winning the 2020 election by gambling website Bovada. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Disney CEO Bob Iger says ESPN has become too political: 'The pendulum may have swung a little bit too far'," 21 Sep. 2018 But what does the White Walkers' head honcho want anyway? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Night King Has a Target to Kill in Game of Thrones Season 8," 7 Mar. 2019 Kris Jenner, head honcho of the Kardashian-Jenner club, is a busy woman and the mom of six superstars. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Kris Jenner With Her New Textured Lob Is a Lewk We've Never Seen Before," 27 Feb. 2019 However complicated things seem to get for the masters of the universe who populate the world of high finance in real life, there’s very little that can compare to the exploits of hedge fund honcho Bobby Axelrod on the Showtime series Billions. The Editors, Town & Country, "Everything We Know So Far About Season 4 of Billions," 20 Dec. 2018 Jumping forward many years, O’Reilly tells us about convening a small summit of tech honchos, which quite literally named open source software. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Tim O‘Reilly discusses the birth of “open source”," 1 Aug. 2018 That ’03 Red Sox bullpen coughed up his first opener as head honcho, and Epstein took the loss hard. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs take care of business, make more opening day memories," 29 Mar. 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

15 Jun 2019

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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

chiefly US, informal : 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

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