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 Former Fox honcho Chris Stirewalt talked with Acosta about the results in Arizona. Brian Stelter, CNN, 26 Sep. 2021 What begins with George bungling a pilot deal with NBC after staring at the cleavage of the network honcho’s daughter ends with Elaine using her cleavage to manipulate that same boss into resurrecting the deal. Larry Fitzmaurice, Vulture, 1 Sep. 2021 No one mixes and matches better than Giants front office honcho Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 27 July 2021 According to Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige, fans will get that answer — eventually. Andrea Towers, EW.com, 20 July 2021 By the end of last year Virgin Produced honcho Jason Felts — who had been KAABOO’s managing partner — had exited, along with KAABOO’s chief marketing officer. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 July 2021 Like Loki’s Time Keepers, the Marvel honcho makes sure the MCU keeps ticking, and makes sure all the movies and shows work in concert. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 14 July 2021 The list of things that went right for the Sacramento Kings under head honcho Vlade Divac is a short one. Sean Deveney, Forbes, 28 June 2021 But her actual character’s name is Ravonna Renslayer, who has far more significance that some random TVA honcho. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 18 June 2021

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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Last Updated

5 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Honcho.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honcho. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of honcho

: a person who is in charge of other people

More from Merriam-Webster on honcho

Nglish: Translation of honcho for Spanish Speakers


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