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Hunky-dory is an American term with an uncertain origin. It is a reduplicated word, which is a word in which part of the root word is repeated in another word. Reduplicated words are formed because they are pleasing to the ear; often, reduplicated words are coined by children on the playground. Reduplicated terms are nearly always rendered as one, hyphenated word. We will look at the meaning of the phrase hunky-dory, where it may have come from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Hunky-dory is an adjective that describes something that is fine, satisfactory, or going well. For instance, someone who is asked how his job is going might respond with the term, hunky-dory. The expression hunky-dory came into use first in the United States; the earliest examples are found from the 1860s. Hunky-dory is a term that evolved from an archaic definition of the word hunky, which was used as an adjective to describe something satisfactory or just fine; hunky was derived from the Dutch word, honk, which meant home or safe. Though hunky-dory is often seen without a hyphen, as in hunky dory, the Oxford English Dictionary lists the word as hyphenated.


He persuasively dismissed the notion that keeping American troops in Afghanistan would be like the continued U.S. military presence in Germany and Japan, where, when you leave one of our bases, everything is hunky-dory. (Washington Monthly)

Now that in-person learning is back, for most children, we can’t assume that everything is hunky-dory for these kids. (Colorado Springs Gazette)

Not the conservatives spreading vaccine misinformation, or the Republican governors claiming everything is hunky-dory as their states become the worst place in the country for COVID-19, but Obama’s decision to hold a birthday party, to which he has since disinvited hundreds of people. (Vanity Fair)