Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hunky-dory adj.

[Du. hunk, home (in a game; the word was first used by youngsters in New Amsterdam and thence New York); thus adv. hunk, in a safe position, all right; dory, ety. unknown; ? redup. Note Quinion World Wide Words 27/11/99: ‘HUNKY-DORY [...] The suggestion is that the term was introduced in America about 1865 by a popular variety performer named Japanese Tommy. [...] it is said to have been sailors’ slang for a street in Yokohama named Honki-Dori, whose inhabitants “catered for the pleasures of sailors”, as he puts it. The word was a play on the existing word “hunky” for something that was fine, splendid or satisfactory, which itself probably derives from the adjective “hunk” with much the same sense. That can be traced back to the 1840s and has links to another reduplicated term, “hunkum-bunkum”.’]
(orig. US)

1. (also honky-dooley, hunkey-dorey, hunkidori) wonderful, excellent, first-rate.

[US]cite in Wiley Life of Billy Yank (1952) 187: Another Yank reported that he was ‘Hunkey Dora’.
[US] ‘The Famous East Side of Town’ in Rootle-Tum Songster 15: Like a good comic song or a story, / And a shindig or hop’s ‘hunky dory’ / On the jolly East side of the town.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 66: Having obtained such information in this direction as satisfied him that he was all ‘hunky-dory’.
[US]Hartford Herald (KY) 3 Oct. 6/1: ‘Hasn’t this been a jolly day?’ [...] —Hunkadory!’.
[US](con. 1860s) J.O. Kerbey On the War Path 92: They are of that self-satisfied class so peculiar to the South that practice too well the hunkidori doctrine, to let well enough alone.
Herald (Los Angeles) 9 Mar. 10/3: Mr Reid,[...] lighting a fine cigar said, ‘Hunkey Dorey’.
[US]The Columbia Orchestra [instrumental title] Hunky Dory.
[US]A.G. Field Watch Yourself Go By 93: We’re all hun-ki-dora now.
[US]E.L. Warnock ‘Terms of Approbation And Eulogy’ in DN IV:i 24: hunkidori, hunky-dory. Superlatively good.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 305: You seem to be feeling all hunky-dory again.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 232: He told me t’ mention him and everything would be hunky dory.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 23: He don’t owe no money an’ everything is hunky-dory.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 13 Jan. [synd. col.] Hastening to Washington to see his adored, Bea Lillie, with whom all’s honky-dooley again.
C. Brackett & B. Wilder Ball opf Fire [film script] I traced the evolution of ‘hunky dory,’ tracked down ‘skiddo’ from ‘skedaddle’.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 81: In these circs everything should be hunky-dory.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 49: The cops would be satisfied, and everything was hunky-dory.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 90: One hope that things would be hunkey-dorey again.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 65: They sit [...] swearing to God, on their honour, cross their heart, that all will be rosy and hunky-dory.
[US](con. 1930s) R. McKenna Sons of Martha 141: This is Honcho-dori, the main drag. [...] Did you know that’s where the slang word ‘hunky-dory’ comes from?
[UK](con. 1940s) O. Manning Danger Tree 48: We had Tobruk. It was hunkey-dorey.
[US]R. De Christoforo Grease 219: Everything was terrific. Hunky-dory, right?
[UK]Kirk & Madsen After The Ball 328: When A desires B just as much as B desires A; then everything’s hunky-dory.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 348: Okay, so the front of the shop looked hunky-dory, so our perpetrator didn’t bother with it.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 278: There are other hunky-dory narratives of people like Big Al [...] but they don’t make headlines.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 78: Sorted, he thought. [...] Hunky-fucking-dory.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 191: You get the impression that things are not hunky dory down the Monarch [Club].

2. close, cosy, intimate; thus in ironic use, unsophisticated.

[US]G. Tate ‘Stagolee Versus the Proper Negro’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 50: What this means is that we probably won’t ever have to suffer [...] Wynton fake the funk with a band that’s just hunky-dory.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 295: The instructor called on Debbie and me once to get inside the little hunky-dory circle.