honcho v.

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Oct 4 13:18:28 UTC 2011

Victor, I think you missed in the OED under
"honcho, n." -- "Hence as v. trans., to oversee; to be in charge of."

Admittedly, the heading "honcho, n." seems a bit limited.


At 10/4/2011 04:45 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
>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.
>     VS-)
>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
>>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.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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