Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who is in charge; a manager or leader: "Now that Hollywood honchos have discovered the verdant beachfront villages, the stores have grown in scope and sophistication” ( David Field).
  • transitive v. To direct or manage: "He . . . is honchoing preparations for the forthcoming . . . economic summit” ( Newsweek).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. boss, leader

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who exercises control over workers

Etymologies

Japanese hanchō, squad leader : han, squad (from Middle Chinese pa·n, arrangement, class) + chō, chief (from Middle Chinese trinodotst.gifaŋ).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese 班長 (はんちょう, hanchō, "squad leader"), probably via American English. Apocryphal stories abound regarding American soldiers hearing Japanese POW's refer to their lieutenants by this phrase during World War II. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Barsuk, the label honcho dude, if he knew of anything.

    Pitchfork: Latest News

  • Acclaiming this document, Lord Sugar, who remains on work experience in the Lords after some sort of Labour internship, asked why the coalition does not "bring in some kind of head honcho from the private sector who knows what they are doing and pay them the right amount of money, which they would be paid in a large organisation".

    Why are we letting business big shots alter our society?

  • A rather dismal Baen collection of short stories about a village in post-Holocaust Ireland where the head honcho is the only fertile man left in the world, and has to grapple with the awful responsibilities of impregnating the local women.

    June Books 39-44) The Season 19 novelisations, plus a Missing Adventure

  • Mr Musk also happens to be the main honcho at SpaceX.

    Tesla Motors Zaps Another C.E.O. and Lays Off Staff - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • HAMMER (voice-over): The idea for the album came from old friend, legendary music producer and record label honcho Clive Davis.

    CNN Transcript Feb 1, 2006

  • "I think [the soundtrack] is going to do better than most because the Taylor engine is so powerful," label honcho Jason Linn says.

    E! Online (US) - Top Stories

  • Out of This Spark label honcho and show promoter cbc. ca / arts reporter Sarah Liss.

    CBC Radio 3

  • The Letterman gig, which sees An Horse follow in the footsteps of local luminaries like Powderfinger, the Living End and Wolfmother, is a "major opportunity", the band's local label honcho Paul Curtis says.

    NEWS.com.au | Top Stories

  • The Mayapples are label honcho Matt Ellis's band, and what I've heard by 'em has been pretty interesting,

    SCR Blog

  • A soundtrack featuring the likes of Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays, cameos from Howard Devoto, and Steve Coogan's hilarious portrayal of the infinitely complex label honcho Tony Wilson make

    Flavorpill New York Events

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  • A Japanese word meaning "squad leader" and first came into usage in the English language during the American occupation of Japan following World War II.

    May 7, 2008