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

Definition of honcho

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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 Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige is bound to bring actors, filmmakers and some big surprises at the first in-person Comic-Con in three years. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 23 July 2022 Ryan Gosling plays the titular Gray Man, a kind of secret superspy who a CIA head honcho tasks another sadistic superspy with eliminating. Andy Meek, BGR, 23 July 2022 Maybe Jones and Marks can get on the phone with Utah honcho Danny Ainge? Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 14 July 2022 After five years with Accenture, Ball joined former Fox Studios honcho Peter Chernin’s Otter Entertainment, producer of the Planet of the Apes movies and The New Girl tv series. Charlie Fink, Forbes, 6 July 2022 Kathleen Kennedy—president of Lucasfilm, and thus, head honcho of any and everything related to Star Wars and everyone's favorite galaxy far, far, away—made an eyebrow-raising statement in a recent Vanity Fair cover story. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 6 June 2022 And something the head honcho will surely write about in her next annual report. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 16 June 2022 Trump’s anger reportedly prompted his team’s efforts to lobby Fox head honcho Rupert Murdoch to retract the call. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, 13 June 2022 The first half of the show, comprising those corporate honcho separates of suiting, beautiful coats, sinewy skirts, pussybow blouses, and macho blazers, are part of a new line the house is launching called Garde-Robe. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Honcho.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honcho. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of honcho for Spanish Speakers


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