Etymology
Advertisement

honky-tonk (n.)

"cheap night club," by 1893, American English, of unknown origin. It starts to appear frequently about 1893 in newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma; a much-reprinted snippet defines it as "a particularly vicious and low-grade theater." In the Fort Worth, Texas, "Gazette" in 1889 it seems to be the name of a particular theater, and the Marshall, Texas, "Messenger" of May 27, 1892, mentions the "Honk-E-Tonk district" as "the most disreputable part of town." As a type of music played in that sort of low saloon, it is attested by 1921.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of honky-tonk

honky-tonk (n.)
a cheap drinking and dancing establishment;
Synonyms: barrelhouse
From wordnet.princeton.edu