(WYTV) — Everything is hunky-dory: that’s old American slang for satisfactory, good, fine.
Linguists have a good idea of how it originated, around the 1860s, the time of the Civil War.
Let’s start with hunky, from an even older slang term hunk, meaning safe, in a good position. That was New York City slang, as in hunker down, you’re safe, and an old Dutch word honck meaning a refuge, or home. “To be hunk,” or “all hunk,” is to have reached your goal.
What about dory? What’s that?
We really aren’t sure, but it follows hunky by 1864. One explanation: it rhymes, as in hotsy-totsy, hootchy-cootchy, or hoity-toity and around this time, hunky-dory also appears in a song.
One other theory: hunky-dory came about as Western sailors in the mid-nineteenth century visited Yokohama, Japan. One of the streets in Yokohama is named Honchodori, lined with bars, just the place for sailors arriving in port after a long sea voyage. The sailors twisted it into honky-dory street and brought the expression home.
But there is no evidence, just conjecture for this.
Everything honky-dory now?