[ hong-kee-tongk, hawng-kee-tawngk ]
See synonyms for honky-tonk on Thesaurus.com
  1. a cheap, noisy, and garish nightclub or dance hall.

  1. Also honk·y-tonk·y [hong-kee-tong-kee, hawng-kee-tawng-]. /ˈhɒŋ kiˌtɒŋ ki, ˈhɔŋ kiˌtɔŋ-/. of, relating to, or characteristic of a honky-tonk: a honky-tonk atmosphere.

  2. characterized by or having a large number of honky-tonks: the honky-tonk part of town.

  1. Music. noting a style of ragtime piano-playing characterized by a strict two-four or four-four bass, either contrapuntal or chordal, and a melody embellished with chords and syncopated rhythms, typically performed on a piano whose strings have been muffled and given a tinny sound.

verb (used without object)
  1. to visit or frequent honky-tonks.

Origin of honky-tonk

1890–95, Americanism; rhyming compound based on honk

Other words from honky-tonk

  • honky-tonker, noun

Words Nearby honky-tonk

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use honky-tonk in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for honky-tonk


/ (ˈhɒŋkɪˌtɒŋk) /

  1. US and Canadian slang

    • a cheap disreputable nightclub, bar, etc

    • (as modifier): a honky-tonk district

  2. a style of ragtime piano-playing, esp on a tinny-sounding piano

  1. a type of country music, usually performed by a small band with electric and steel guitars

  2. (as modifier): honky-tonk music

Origin of honky-tonk

C19: rhyming compound based on honk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012