honky tonk


[hong-kee-tongk, hawng-kee-tawngk]
a cheap, noisy, and garish nightclub or dance hall.
Also, honky-tonky [hong-kee-tong-kee, hawng-kee-tawng-] . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a honky-tonk: a honky-tonk atmosphere.
characterized by or having a large number of honky-tonks: the honky-tonk part of town.
Music. noting a style of ragtime piano-playing characterized by a strict two-four or four-four bass, either contrapuntal or chordal, and a melody embellished with chords and syncopated rhythms, typically performed on a piano whose strings have been muffled and given a tinny sound.
verb (used without object)
to visit or frequent honky-tonks.

1890–95, Americanism; rhyming compound based on honk

honky-tonker, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
honky-tonk (ˈhɒŋkɪˌtɒŋk)
1.  slang (US), (Canadian)
 a.  a cheap disreputable nightclub, bar, etc
 b.  (as modifier): a honky-tonk district
2.  a style of ragtime piano-playing, esp on a tinny-sounding piano
3.  a type of country music, usually performed by a small band with electric and steel guitars
4.  (as modifier): honky-tonk music
[C19: rhyming compound based on honk]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"cheap night club," 1924, earlier honk-a-tonk (1894), of unknown origin. As a type of music played in that sort of low saloon, it is attested from 1933.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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