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In'The Zen of Python', the last line states:

"Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!"

  • What is the meaning of the word "honking" in this sentence? I have read another question about the word "honking" in What does "honking" mean in this context? and they said: "Big honking [x]" is a colloquial way of saying very big [x]. Do these words have same meaning or the "honking" in the line has another meaning ?
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3 Answers 3

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It's a minced oath for 'fucking'.

Its effect is that instead of being vulgar and using the more taboo word, you replace it with something that sounds vaguely like it.

In

That is a great honking idea.

'honking is merely an intensifier, like its much more common taboo version. There is no literal implication of something that honks. It simply sounds like the much more taboo word.

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  • So the word honking is actually misspelling of "fucking". Thank you for a useful answer. Do you know any online website that i can look for the "minced oath" like this?
    – user383745
    May 6, 2020 at 14:11
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    It's not a misspelling. It's an intentional sound change to be distinct from the taboo word but still be recognizable as close. giving the speaker 'plausible deniability'. For 'fuck' there's fork, frak, fudge, funk. For damn there's darn, durn, dang. There's more at the link to minced oaths in my answer: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minced_oath
    – Mitch
    May 6, 2020 at 15:04
  • Okay, i got it. Thank you ^^. I've looked over your link but what I mean is a online website like a dictionary where i can search for some words like that.
    – user383745
    May 6, 2020 at 15:25
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    These kinds of words are 1) often not in dictionaries because they tend to be very informal and nonstandard, and 2) if in a dictionary, the dictionary will tend not to have an easily searchable tag like 'minced oath' for all of them. If you're interested in seeing a number of them just google for minced oath or euphemism.
    – Mitch
    May 6, 2020 at 16:06
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In this context, it means very. Or, in other words, it is an intensifier.

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I think honking has the following connotation as suggested by Green’s Dictionary of Slang

honking adj.2

(US campus) enormous, huge.

  • 1989 [US] P. Munro Sl. U. 110: We have a honking textbook in my management class.

  • 1992 [US] D. Burke Street Talk 2 19: Can you believe the honkin’ amount of homework I have to do?

  • 1997–2002 [US] Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] honkin adj. Physical state of object, person, or thing that is relatively big, large in size.

so honking in “a honking great idea” is used as a superlative.

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