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

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 So, as Cubs baseball honcho Theo Epstein considers trades to bolster a third-place team that is expected to be a World Series contender, the big question becomes this: Can Manny Machado pitch? Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "The big question for the Cubs: Can Manny Machado pitch?," 23 May 2018 Comcast honchos want to replace embattled NBC News Chairman Andy Lack by the end of the year after a series of public relations debacles have tarnished the news division’s once-sterling reputation, Fox News has learned. Brian Flood, Fox News, "NBC honchos hope to replace embattled news boss Andy Lack after multiple scandals," 14 May 2018 In an upcoming limited series on Showtime, the actor is set to play former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes. Laura Bradley, HWD, "Russell Crowe Will Play Roger Ailes in Showtime’s Limited Series About Fox News," 25 June 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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Phrases Related to honcho

head honcho

Statistics for honcho

Last Updated

19 Oct 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

What made you want to look up honcho? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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