[ hong-kee-tongk, hawng-kee-tawngk ]
/ ˈhɒŋ kiˌtɒŋk, ˈhɔŋ kiˌtɔŋk /


a cheap, noisy, and garish nightclub or dance hall.


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

to visit or frequent honky-tonks.


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Origin of honky-tonk

1890–95, Americanism; rhyming compound based on honk


honk·y-tonk·er, noun

Words nearby honky-tonk

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for honky-tonk

/ (ˈhɒŋkɪˌtɒŋk) /


US and Canadian slang
  1. a cheap disreputable nightclub, bar, etc
  2. (as modifier)a honky-tonk district
a style of ragtime piano-playing, esp on a tinny-sounding piano
a type of country music, usually performed by a small band with electric and steel guitars
(as modifier)honky-tonk music

Word Origin for 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