honcho v.

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 4 08:45:22 UTC 2011

In fact, the third OED quotation has a verb, not a noun:

> 1964 Sat. Rev. (U.S.) 10 Oct. 82/2   Jack Bullock, who honchoes the
> Curaçao casino.


On 10/4/2011 4:43 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> I was curious about the origin of "honcho", and we were just
> discussing this on list. The first OED reference is to a 1947 book,
> which matches the idea of it being brought over by pilots who were
> stationed in Japan after WWII (and all through the Korean War). But
> it's the second citation that's interesting.
>> 1955 Amer. Speech 30 118 Honcho. 1. n. A man in charge. (This is a
>> Japanese word translated roughly as 'Chief officer', brought back
>> from Japan by fliers stationed there during the occupation and during
>> the Korean fighting.‥) 2. v. To direct a detail or operation.
> MWOLD also lists the same origin, but gives 1955 as the date of
> impact. This would have been ho-hum, but for the part that follows 2.:
> "v." There is no "honcho v." in the OED. But there should be. Even if
> there was little evidence of it in 1955, there is plenty of evidence
> now--GB find 400+ raw ghits for "honchoed" alone (well, including
> "honchoing" and a few strays). Most are recent vintage and appear to
> be perfectly legit. Restricting the dates, leaves 8 hits prior to
> 1970, with four that appear legitimate, all in military context. (None
> have been verified, but the dates are secondary, at the moment.)
>> The Leatherneck: Volume 50
>> 1967 - Snippet view
>> ... crewing one of the Marine boats, LtCol Randolph and Maj Colleton
>> also honcho-ed much of the advance planning and final execution of
>> Frostbite, which appears simple enough on paper, but actually is an
>> annual aspirin-consuming task. ...
>> Small unit action in Vietnam, summer 1966
>> Francis J. West, United States. Marine Corps - 1967 - 123 pages -
>> Snippet view
>> On 8 May, the lst Platoon of Delta Company was 52 men strong,
>> commanded by a first lieutenant and honchoed* by a staff sergeant.
>> For a month they patrolled. At division level, the operations section
>> could see ...
>> Army: Volume 16
>> Association of the United States Army - 1966 - Snippet view
>> Neither should he be running a movie projector, nor honchoing a
>> bowling alley, nor selling tickets, nor checking people in and out of
>> the post exchange, nor tending a counter in a QM clothing store, nor
>> walking post. ...
>> The Leatherneck: Volume 49
>> Leatherneck Association - 1966 - Snippet view
>> ... honchoed ...
> Both Leathernecks may be errors--clicking the link gives no record of
> "honchoed" inside the volume. West's book gives a clear snippet (looks
> typewritten, which seems appropriate) with "honchoed" followed by an
> asterisk, which, I presume, gives a footnote explanation. The Army
> also gives nothing (which, of course, does not necessarily mean it's
> not there). Still, there is one clear hit from the period.
> So there appears to be no reason /not/ to have a honcho v. article.
> OUP does recognize it--on-line World Dictionary lists the verb. So
> does AHD4 and Webster's New World College, Collins, InfoPlease and
> Random House Unabridged. So it's really the OED and MWOLD that are
> behind.
> Wiktionary, FarLex and Dictionary.com (WordNet 3.0) also list "head
> honcho" as idiomatic. OED, AHD4 and MWOLD make no mention of it,
> although it shows up in quotations they all use.
> VS-)

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