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[hon-choh] /ˈhɒn tʃoʊ/ Slang.
noun, plural honchos.
a leader, especially an assertive leader; chief.
verb (used with object)
to organize, supervise, or be the leader of:
She volunteered to honcho the new project.
Origin of honcho
1945-50; < Japanese hanchō squad or group leader, equivalent to han squad (< Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese bān) + -chō eldest, chief (< Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese zhǎng) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for honcho
  • He had ambitions, of course, but becoming head honcho was not among them.
  • Thirty minutes with the campus chief honcho versus years of collegial scrutiny.
  • In fact, in light of the honcho's preview, it seemed rather good.
  • The mayhem begins when the head honcho of a financially struggling studio turns a lost dog into a legend.
  • Let's say your old boss is gone and the new head honcho is not aware of all your glorious achievements.
British Dictionary definitions for honcho


noun (pl) -chos
the person in charge; the boss
to supervise or be in charge of
Word Origin
C20: from Japanese han'chō group leader
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for honcho

1947, American English, "officer in charge," from Japanese hancho "group leader," from han "corps, squad" + cho "head, chief." Picked up by U.S. servicemen in Japan and Korea, 1947-1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for honcho



The person in charge; chief; big enchilada, boss: better known as the honcho of Scientific Anglers, Inc (1947+)


: honcho a staff

[fr Japanese hancho, ''squad leader''; han, ''small group,'' and cho, ''leader'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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