One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Originally Irish English, now chiefly United States regional (southern and in African-American usage). A sweetheart, a darling. Chiefly as a form of address, originally especially to a child.
2An utterance of ‘honey child’, especially as a stereotypical feature of the speech of the southern United States.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Gerald Griffin (1803–1840), novelist, playwright, and poet. From honey + child. In form honey chile representing African-American pronunciation: compare the form chile at child.
honey child/ˈhʌnɪ tʃʌɪld/
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