Everything’s hunky dory

Phil said that this was a phrase that his mother told him.  She told him that if he was ever kidnapped or if anything bad happened and he was able to call her, he should say everything’s hunky dory.  That way, she would know to contact the police.  He said it means everything is okay.  That way the bad people would not think that he was giving away any information, but at the same time his mother would know that something was wrong.

This is a piece of folk speech that identified them as part of that immediate family.  The purpose of the phrase was to exclude others.  Whoever the bad people were would not know the meaning of the phrase.  I do not think this phase would be as effective if it was used today.  People no longer really use the phrase hunky dory, so someone might suspect something if you did.

The phrase hunky dory can be considered a piece of folk speech itself.  Although it is not used very much anymore in the English language, most people still know what it means.  Its basic meaning is every things okay.  I researched it a little bit and I found two possible origins of the phrase.  One was that the main street of Yokohama was Huncho-dori Street. So, a sailor on shore leave would feel that everything was okay when they reached the main street.  Another possible origin is that the word hunk comes from the Dutch word honk, which means goal.  So, when you reached your goal everything was okay.  This explains the hunky part but does not give an explanation of where dory came from.

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