Today I sent a message to one of my lists in which I referred to getting a massage from “the bohunk of your choice.” To my shock, someone pointed me to my dictionary, which informed me that “bohunk” is a slur on Bohemian/Hungarians!
I was floored. I had no idea. I’ve always heard it in reference to a big, sorta-dumb, sexy, Jethro-Bodine-type man. Never in a negative context, and never as a racial slur. It was something you wanted! (If you’re into big sexy men who do your bidding, that is.) I thought it came from “bodacious hunk” or “beau-hunk” or something like that. Someone also suggested “boy hunk” as her interpretation.
It was implied that maybe it’s a regional thing. I’ve always lived in central Wisconsin. Yet I found an account written by a man living near Marshfield, about an hour north of me, who described the hurt of being called a Bohunk in this area in the 1930s.
Is this term outgrowing its offensive meaning? I also found lots of sites using the term in the way that I intended it: “Hollywood bohunk Vin Diesel” and so on.
I don’t intend to use it in mixed company in the future; I’m just curious about how other people define this term. What did you think it meant before you read this thread? And what are your geographic or linguistic influences?