Definition of honcho in US English:


nounPlural honchos

North American
  • A leader or manager; the person in charge.

    ‘the company's head honcho in the US’
    • ‘The only way we will be able to get universal health care is to convince the corporate honchos and physicians groups to support it simply because it will be cheaper for them and save them money and mean more profit.’
    • ‘The coalition now includes some of the country's heaviest financial hitters, pension fund managers and mutual fund honchos that control a half-trillion in assets.’
    • ‘Political honchos expect an upbeat and optimistic speech from President Thabo Mbeki at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town this morning.’
    • ‘A former college football star and aspiring wrestler telephones home after a successful meeting with the head honchos at the World Wrestling Federation.’
    • ‘The telecommunications honchos had no trouble getting access to the highest level of White House officials because they knew the secret password: money.’
    • ‘I could also imagine that some recommendations for future action might be only hinted at in the report and then delivered in person to the top honchos.’
    • ‘But the idea that the Hollywood honchos tried to engineer his fall by tampering with his pictures is sweet nonsense.’
    • ‘Today, the town might not attract the crowds it once did, but the Cowal peninsula is being aggressively hustled by the tourism honchos and they have good cause to do so.’
    • ‘But the company top honchos are preparing to take the legal plunge.’
    • ‘What do all of these people - the Baseball owners, the music-industry honchos, the airline kings, and the President, have in common?’
    • ‘We aren't told what they ate, where they ate it, when… but I bet you can guarantee that the head honchos in the health authority know what restaurants not to go to.’
    • ‘It is no small irony that Iranian ayatollahs, ex-Communist Party leaders and former KGB honchos will vastly increase their influence in the region.’
    • ‘We caught up with six head honchos, from Hollywood CEO Peter Cuber to Reuters chief Tom Glocer, and asked them about the devices they can't live without.’
    • ‘You'll have no choice but to communicate and interact with co-workers, customers and head honchos.’
    • ‘Then I'll find out how to stalk, bribe and blackmail book editors and publishing honchos until they relent and publish your book.’
    • ‘This is not a dry catalogue of facts, a laundry list of achievements by successive corporate honchos or a linear record of the changes in or the restoration of this heritage hotel property.’
    • ‘Bombard the head honchos with loads of letters.’
    • ‘Here's what the military honchos are saying now about the guerrilla war in the country.’
    • ‘Much sleep was lost by many high-powered industry honchos over figuring out what such people would watch and what they would buy.’
    • ‘About 170 industry honchos will participate in the meeting from India.’
    chief, head, principal, boss
    View synonyms

verbhonchoed, honchoes

[with object]North American
  • Be in charge of (a project or situation)

    ‘the task at hand was to honcho an eighteen-wheeler to St. Louis’
    • ‘After praising him, the President last week removed him from honchoing the hurricane relief operation.’
    • ‘He will honcho global brand strategy and product development.’
    • ‘As the project leader and principal investigator, it was one of my responsibilities to honcho the selection of a name.’
    • ‘Our most junior producer, who had put together the noon show and was at the gym at the time, came back into work and helped honcho the overnight show.’


1940s: from Japanese hanchō ‘group leader’, a term brought back to the US by servicemen stationed in Japan during the occupation following the Second World War.