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The word first appeared in print in the late 19th century, often applied to people who were unwelcome among their family, friends and/or community. A common theory of the origin of this word is the merger of the first syllable of the word Hungarian and the last syllable of the ethnic slur Polack. However, a more likely origin is the Hungarian adjective hanyag, which has a variety of negative meanings including careless, sloppy, slothful, and slow.

The word is derived from the German "Honigjaeger", which literally means "honey chaser". The name was given to immigrants to Montana looking to take advantage of land offerings, without realizing how difficult farming in Montana was. The word is pejorative, and is used in reference to a clueless farmer.

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honyock ‎(plural honyocks)

  1. (US, slang, derogatory) An immigrant to the United States from east-central Europe.
  2. (US, slang, derogatory) A rube or simpleton.
  3. (US, slang) A hardscrabble farm (this usage known in parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alberta and Saskatchewan).

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Usage notes[edit]

The term fell into disuse during the 1960s and 1970s.