Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Tue Nov 30 17:04:34 UTC 1999

Yesterday I said:

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.

Here is his reply:

Yeah.. "Honkin'" is rarely used on its own, barring a situation in which
something is, in fact, honking (a car, a goose, or what have you.) Rather, it
amplifies another adjective, as in "That's one big honkin' weasel".

I've rarely heard or seen "honkin'" placed before the other adjective when the
noun is part of the phrase; most times, it's been people from the south, as in
"This is a honkin' nasty lasagna". However, "This alarm clock is honkin' ugly"
is more likely.

It's not a universal amplifier; either "big" or some descriptor of
unpleasantness seems most used with it.

-- Mark A. Mandel

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