February 21, 2012
honcho (noun)
\HAHN-choh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: boss : big shot; also : hotshot
How do you use it?
"Just because you're the oldest, you don't have to act like the head honcho all the time," grumbled Terry's younger brother.
Are you a word wiz?

What language do you think gave us the word "honcho"?

The roots of "honcho" are "han," the Japanese word for "squad," and "cho," meaning "head" or "chief." "Honcho" goes back to the U.S. presence in Japan following World War II. While we're not sure how it found its way into American military vocabulary in the mid-1950s, we do know that the Japanese applied the word "hancho" to certain British or Australian officers. After it was adapted into English, "honcho" only gained general popularity in the 1960s, when it was often used in connection with politics. It has also been occasionally used as a verb meaning "to supervise."
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