The origin of hunky dory (or hunky-dory, hunkydory) is uncertain. Some dictionaries cite what may well be its authentic origin: Japan.
In July, 1853, American Commodore Matthew C. Perry steamed into Japanese waters in his black sailing vessels, ending 250 years of isolation of Japan from the West.
Perry's sailors, venturing into Japanese port cities in search of entertainment, when returning to the ship often found themselves lost in a maze of narrow streets and alleys. However once they found the "main street" in the city, it most often led to the dock and their ship.
Most port cities had such a street and it was named "honcho dori" -- thus, once one found honcho dori, everything would be just fine, and getting back to the ship not a problem. Hunky dory may well be an Americanized pronunciation of honcho dori.
frankatca Frank Ferguson Lexington, MA FFerguson@aol.com
- I've also heard this story, and it appears Route 133 in Yokohama is also known as "Honcho Dori", presumably because it passes through the "Honcho" neighborhood. It does seem to lead straight to the port. I've also heard that the the expression comes from the fact that the similarly-sounding street was the red light district, though I have no verification that Honcho-Dori did in fact pass through a red-light district. --Ddickison 16:58, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't it sound like "honkey dory" when it is said? 22.214.171.124 03:31, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
- Mmm, nope. —Stephen 04:05, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
126.96.36.199 09:30, 17 April 2012 (UTC) It is almost homonymic with the Basque greeting "ongi etorri". Strange coincidence, or might there be a new twist on its etymology? Carlos Pecciotto Chicago, IL email@example.com
The Japanese origin could be from 捗る (hakadoru), which generally means "making progress". To my amateur eye, they're awfully similar in meaning and pronunciation not to be related. --188.8.131.52 15:39, 11 March 2016 (UTC)