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When I was young, my cousins and I used to use the word: "Hon" (at least that's how I would write it) to get validation from another person that something occurred.

Example:

Hon Alex that mom bought this game for us yesterday.

I think "Hon" is short for honesty or to be honest. Since I'm not from the United States and only went to visit them for summer vacations, I'm not sure where they got that expression from, a TV show or something like that. This happened in early 2000s, maybe 2004-2006.

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  • Was it pronounced like the start of honk, or like the start of hone, or like the start of honey, or like the start of honest?
    – tchrist
    Dec 24, 2021 at 18:44
  • It was pronunced like the start of Honk, yes. Dec 24, 2021 at 18:56
  • Could it have been hunh (which is pronounced without the /n/ but with a nasalized vowel, which might easily be the vowel in honk. Dec 25, 2021 at 0:47
  • @PeterShor Wow, I think this would be the right answer, as said in this website: dictionary.com/e/slang/hunh "Hunh is an interjection that conveys annoyance, confusion, or curiosity. It also adds emphasis at the end of the question." it goes along with the context I provided, so, I will mark your answer as correct. Dec 25, 2021 at 22:18

2 Answers 2

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Could it have been hunh (which is pronounced without the /n/ but with a nasalized vowel, and which might easily contain the vowel in honk, although I believe that it more often contains the vowel of hunk).

Dictionary.com defines hunh as

an interjection that conveys annoyance, confusion, or curiosity.

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  • Huh Alex that mom bought this game for us yesterday. ?? Dec 26, 2021 at 15:25
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Since the meaning you remember was honestly,"hon" may have been short for

honest Injun

Dated, offensive US

Honestly; really.

I won't run away, honest Injun Lexico

ORIGIN OF HONEST INJUN 1870–75, Americanism; see Injun

USAGE NOTE FOR HONEST INJUN Honest Injun uses an informal, nonstandard spelling of Indian. Probably first used by Mark Twain, this expression is now dated and often perceived as insulting to or by American Indians. Though it came to mean “honestly or truly,” it may have had its origin in the contrary perception that Indians on the American frontier were not considered honest or trustworthy until they had proven themselves, for example, as scouts. See also Indian. dictionary.com

Although I remember it from my childhood, I would have thought this expression was out-of-date by the early 2000's, but perhaps not, given the date of the Scouting magazine admonition.


"Tom—honest injun, now—is it fun or earnest?" Mark Twain; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)

"Do yer ask honest Injun, no cheatin' nor nothin?"
"Certainly. Perfectly 'honest Injun.'" Blanche Willard Howard; One Summer (1875)

Don't use derogatory words and phrases, such as "Injun," "honest Injun," "Indian giver," "too many chiefs and not enough Indians," "as wild as a bunch of Indians," "squaw," "half-breed," or "papoose." Scouting, Vol. 85, n.6 (1997)

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    But honest is pronounced on-est, so where is the h sound as in the OP's description? Dec 25, 2021 at 7:26
  • @TinfoilHat I'm not sure. Perhaps in strenuous play it got "breathy" (?) But we're looking for a word kids would use to mean honest(ly), and I don't think there are many. I'm thinking the OP's memory of the meaning may be clearer than the recollection of the sound.
    – DjinTonic
    Dec 25, 2021 at 10:33
  • I was thinking Scout's honor, but abandoned that due to no h sound. Dec 25, 2021 at 17:22

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