James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Tue Nov 30 16:39:20 UTC 1999

"Honkin'" has been in use as a "general intensifier"
in Utah for as far back as I can remember (decades?).

Never heard "hawkin" in the context indicated: as
close as I can come is "hork" and "horkin'" used to
describe vomiting, and also noisily clearing the
throat and mouth and  expectorating a particularly
gross mass of phlegm.  By extension "horkin" is used
as an intensifier, particularly in "horkin' big" to
describe anything considered outsized; however, in my
experience, "honkin'" is used as a modifier or
intensifier much more often than "horkin'".

Never heard "hella-" used as a prefix, but the
adjective "hellacious", which I would propose as a
likely source for "hella-", has been around for
decades (if not centuries, although it's not in my
standard dictionary).  In my memory it seems Mark
Twain used "hellacious".


--- Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:
> Grant Barrett <gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG>
> extracts the following from the
> archive:
> On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Jesse T Sheidlower wrote:
>   Not entirely sure; it depends on how accurate the
>   transcription is. "Hella-" is an intensive prefix
> like
>   "mega-," that has been in use at least since the
> late
>   '80s. I've never heard "hawkin'" before, but I
> have
>   (rarely) encounted "honkin'" meaning roughly
> "exciting;
>   jammin', etc." Perhaps these are different
> realizations
>   of the same word.
> <<<
> 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

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