Learn English – the origin of the phrase “hunky dory”

etymologyphrases

What is the origin of the phrase “hunky dory”?

Best Answer

Nobody really knows.

There's no agreed derivation of the expression 'hunky-dory'.

It is American and the earliest example of it in print that I have found is from a collection of US songs, George Christy's Essence of Old Kentucky, 1862.

We do know that 'hunky-dory' wasn't conjured from nowhere but was preceded by earlier words, i.e. 'hunkey', meaning 'fit and healthy' and 'hunkum-bunkum', which had the same meaning as 'hunky-dory'. 'Hunkey' was in use in the USA by 1861, when it was used in the title of the Civil War song A Hunkey Boy Is Yankee Doodle. 'Hunkum-bunkum' is first recorded in the US sporting newspaper The Spirit of The Times, November 1842.