American English, from Japanese 班長 (hanchō, “squad leader”), from 19th c. Mandarin 班長 (bānzhǎng, “team leader”). Probably entered English during World War II: many apocryphal stories describe American soldiers hearing Japanese prisoners-of-war refer to their lieutenants as hanchō.
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɑn.t͡ʃoʊ/, enPR: hŏnʹchō
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhɒn.tʃəʊ/, enPR: hŏnʹchō
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒntʃəʊ
- Hyphenation: hon‧cho
honcho (plural honchos)
- (informal) boss, leader
- 1986, Oliver Stone, Platoon, spoken by Private Gator Lerner (Johnny Depp):
- Says they had no choice. Says the NVA killed the old honcho when he said no. Now he says all the rice is theirs.
- 1992 October 26, Calvin Sims, “Hard Times, Even on Rodeo Drive”, in The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331:
- For years, snobbery has been a hallmark of this city of wealth and glamour, movie stars and entertainment honchos, where it is possible to spend $20,000 for a watch, $6,000 for a suit with 14-karat gold pinstriping or $15,000 for a handbag of rare leather.
- 1999, Dave Barry, Big Trouble, Penguin, published 2010, →ISBN, page 13:
- Mostly he wrote what the higher honchos in the newsroom referred to, often condescendingly, as “offbeat” stories.
- 2001, Michael Moore, Stupid White Men, page 22:
- Gulfstream makes jets for both Hollywood honchos and foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
- (transitive, informal, Canada, US) To lead or manage.
- 2012, David Lewis Yewdall, Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound, Taylor & Francis, →ISBN:
- The task of choosing the clips that comprised the allotted 10 minutes in the bake-off was left to the supervising sound editor, as it was he or she who honchoed the preparation of the soundtrack for the rerecording mixing stage in the first place.
- “honcho”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “honcho”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
- Rōmaji transcription of