I work for a multinational company, in our office we have workers from around the world. One of them is from Costa Rica, he often calls our manager Honcho,

So, my question is: Does it mean "manager" and makes sense in Spanish, or it's just a word used in Costa Rica?

I was looking for this word in my Spanish book but could not find it there.

1 Answer 1


I had never heard about this word, but it seems to be somehow popular in slang to refer a leader of a small amount of people.

However note it comes from Japanese, not from Spanish, and it is used in slang English. So, in principle, it does not have anything to do with Spanish.

From Urban Dictionary:


A person in charge of some group or of some function, usually a male person. A Japanese word, often mistakenly thought to be of Spanish origin. In Japanese it's a term for a small-time yakuza gangster in charge of just a few underlings, but the underworld flavor has mostly been lost as the word has been adopted into English.

He quickly got promoted to be the head marketing honcho in that dot.com startup.

  • Would be curious about the source on this. As a fluent Japanese speaker and resident of Japan for 15 years, I never heard the term. The closest I can see in the link below is "Honbuchou" which could be abbreviated as Honcho. Pronunciation would be closer to what you'd expect in Spanish than what the term has become in English. For the record, the translation is closer to "an all arounder" doing things like accounts and admin. detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1344360403 Dec 11, 2015 at 21:44
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    Googled more. It comes from "hancho" -- pronunciation in tact. :) Has nothing to do w/ the yazukza. In fact, it's military. kotobank.jp/jeword/%E7%8F%AD%E9%95%B7 Dec 11, 2015 at 21:49
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    It's used pretty frequently in some dialects of English in the phrase "head honcho", meaning the boss, one in charge.
    – jacobo
    May 18, 2018 at 10:39

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