A. Maberry maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Nov 30 03:16:54 UTC 1999

On Mon, 29 Nov 1999 Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
> My son, age 18, has been using "honkin'" for at least a couple of years as a
> general intensifier, as in "a honkin' big [whatever]". I'll ask him to
> explicate. We live in Framingham, west of Boston, which has been his home from
> ca. age 2 until heading off to college this fall.
> -- Mark
"a honkin' big [whatever]"?

I've always heard it (for at least 20+ years now) as "a big honkin'
[whatever]" and also "herkin'". Both can be used without the
word "big" but they seem to require something; e.g., "that's one honkin'
X", "that's one herkin' Y". Of course the superlative would be "that's one
big honkin' X" (each word pronounced very distinctly with notable pauses
for emphasis between each word).
I'm honored that someone in Framingham talks like me, but I think the
other residents of Framingham should be somewhat concerned about it.

maberry at u.washington.edu

Now that I think of it, it "honkin'" most always refers to size and
"herkin'" to weight, but maybe I'm getting a bit to subtle in my
speculations. I had assumed without any factual basis whatsoever
that "herkin'" may vaguely have had something to with Hercules.

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