We may call them "borrowings," but we're not giving them back.
1) a top leader (as in politics)
2) a businessperson of exceptional wealth and power : magnate
Two real estate tycoons—a young New Mexico up-and-comer and an older West Texas powerhouse—are duking it out in the courts over a bungled investment deal that has pitted the former business partners against each other.
— Lauren Villagran, The Albuquerque Journal, 14 June 2016
While tycoon now most often refers to a very wealthy and powerful businessperson, the word has had two other uses in English as well. When the United States forced Japan to open full commercial and diplomatic relations with the West in 1854, the real ruler of the island nation was the shogun. Officially only a military deputy of the emperor, the shogun
—a title shortened from seii-taishōgun
, meaning “barbarian-subjugating generalissimo”—stood at the pinnacle of a feudal hierarchy based at Edo (later Tokyo) that effectively controlled the imperial court at Kyoto and ruled the country. Westerners in the initial period of diplomatic relations concluded that the shogun
was a sort of secular emperor and the emperor something like the pope. Townsend Harris, the first American consul to Japan, got the idea that the shogun's correct title was taikun, a Japanese borrowing from Middle Chinese elements equivalent to Beijing Chinese dà
“great” and jūn
This word, in the spelling tycoon, became quite popular in America immediately before and during the Civil War as a colloquialism meaning “top leader” or “potentate.” (John Hay, President Lincoln's personal secretary—and later Secretary of State to Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—referred to Lincoln as "the Tycoon.") After fading from use for several decades tycoon was revived in 1920s journalism with the narrower sense “a businessman of exceptional wealth and power,” a usage that continues to be part of English.
Definition: a person who is in charge of other people: boss, big shot; also: hotshot
[Mandy Patinkin is] one of the most versatile talents in show business, best known at the moment as CIA head honcho Saul Berenson on the TV hit, Homeland
…. — Karen Fricker, The Toronto Star (thestar.com), 12 June 2016
Honcho dates back—in English—to at least 1945, as World War II was coming to a close. American prisoners learned the word while in captivity in Japan. In Japanese, the word translates as "squad leader," from han
, meaning "squad," and chō
, meaning "head, chief." Not long after the war ended, in 1952, General Eisenhower himself was called the "chief honcho" in the Los Angeles Times. Often the word appears in the mildly redundant, but pleasantly alliterative phrase, head honcho.
Definition: a small amount : bit, smidgen —used adverbially with a
A few dogs are huddling just inside the gate when Odenkirk unlatches it. He opens it a skosh, and one of them, an Irish setter, bolts and runs across the parking lot. —Scott Raab, Esquire, 6 May 2016
Skosh is another word introduced into English by U.S. soldiers, though this time those soldiers learned the word while stationed in Japan after World War II had ended—our earliest evidence of it in use in English is from 1952. Our word skosh comes from Japanese sukoshi
, which is pronounced \skoh-shee. Sukoshi
is translated as "a tiny bit" or "a small amount," making our word skosh identical in meaning to its parent word. The English word, however, is also sometimes used adverbially with a, as in "I'm fine, just a skosh tired."
Read more here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at ... ese/tycoon