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Alternative forms[edit]


  • Historically, honyock referred to immigrant homesteaders "stubbornly" farming "hardscrabble" or "hardpan" land considered better suited to livestock ranching.[1]
  • The first recorded usage in print appeared before 1860.[2] Usage of the word peaked around 1927, and subsequently fell into relative disuse by 1980.[2][3]
  • Multiple possible origins of this word have been suggested:
    • Portmanteau word comprised of Hun/Hungarian, and the ethnic slur Polack.
    • Derivation of the German compound word "Honigjäger," meaning honey chaser; A reference to pursuing "sweet" opportunities and inevitably getting "stung" by unanticipated but predictable consequences.
    • Derivation of the Hungarian adjective "hanyag," and its' multiple definitions and negative connotations such as careless, sloppy, slothful, and slow.



honyock (plural honyocks)

  1. (US, slang) A person (especially a farmer) of relatively recent Central or Eastern European peasant extraction.
    • 1938, Unknown FWP Author, A South Dakota Guide, Works Project Administration, Chapter 1, South Dakota Today:
      Today "honyock," or farming homesteader, and old-timer live peaceably side by side and each has learned much from the other. The old-timer taught his neighbor the art of stock raising on the range, and the honyock convinced the old-timer that some forage crops could be raised and that it was not good economics to ship out a carload of cows and at the same time ship in a carload of condensed milk.
  2. (US, slang, sometimes derogatory) A person who is foolish, stupid, oafish, wild, impetuous, or stubborn.
    • 2009, Charles Taylor, Winter from Spring, Xlibris Corporation, page 29:
      (Father) told me I was a honyock, kissed my mother(...), and gave me a Dutch rub.
    • 2011, Robert W. Callis, Hanging Rock, iUniverse, page 141:
      "You city boys are so complicated."
      "Better to be complicated than simple."
      "Who're you calling simple?"
      "The same honyock who damn near got us killed driving here like he was doing the Indy 500 on a dirt road in the woods."
      "I'll have you know that was all skill."
    • 2013, Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe, Waking Up with a Rake, Sourcebooks Incorporated.:
      "Olivia, put some clothes on and I'll be back to deal with you directly. And as for you!" He poked Rhys on the center of his chest. "Come with me, you hairy-legged honyock!"
    • 2016, Tex Tonroy, Out o' th' Bushes: A Texas Preacher's Guide to Givin' Plumb Up!, WestBow Press:
      Oh, and did you notice that last line? "I am the Lord." This is not just some guy off the street; not some honyock who doesn't know anything!

Usage notes[edit]

  • Like other ethnic slurs that've been appropriated by their intended targets, today it is often used in a jocular or affectionate manner when addressing one's own family or friends.
  • It is sometimes used in less rural contexts as an epithet imputing the incompetence of some despised white-collar professional or politician to some presumed "honyock" origin.


Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ A South Dakota Guide, Unknown FWP Author, Works Project Administration, 1938, Chapter 1 South Dakota Today
  2. 2.0 2.1 Google.com, Ngram of word usage in English print, 1800-2000
  3. ^ Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994