hunk-over-dee n Also freq hunkadee, hunkedee, hunkety, hunkodee, hunkydee [The first element is perh hunk n2, but the rest of the name remains unexplained ] chiefly C Atl ?obs
A children’s hiding and chasing game, similar to I spy n 1; also used as a call in this game; hence v hunky-dee see quot 1946. Note: The allusive use of “Hunc-Over-De” in quot 1736 (and in two later issues of the same newspaper) is unexplained, but may imply the existence of a real game of this name.
[1736 NY Weekly Jrl. (NY) 1 Mar 1/2, She hears there is a Meeting which is kept on every Tuesday Evening, at four certain Houses in this City, which is called The Hunc Over De Club; but having ever been cautious of her character, and not knowing what is meant by the Game of Hunc Over De, for she understands it is a Sport, prays you will explain it to her, and advise her as to her Conduct herein.] 1842 Spirit of Times 12.421/2, The festivities of the occasion were prolonged to a late hour in the evening, and after having bent his intense energies to his share in the performance of “Buck! Buck! how many horns?” and the still more exciting divertisement of “Hunk over Dee!” he returned home. 1857 Olive-Branch 76 VA, They [=outdoor benches] furnished also convenient hiding-places for the smaller juveniles, who squatted under them when playing at hunk-a-dee or hide-and-seek . 1869 Riverside Mag. 3.242 sePA, Sometimes they [=girls at recess] played “Hunkedee,” and made such a noise that they had to be rung in before their time by the head teacher. 1876 N&Q 6.534, “Hunk o’ Dee.”—This is the singular name of a boys’ game in Pennsylvania which is very similar to “I spy.” Instead of saying “I spy Brown, Jones, or Robinson,” as the case may be, we say “Hunk o’ Dee Brown,” &c. 1892 Jrl. Amer. Folkl. 8.118 cwNC, “I spy” is more commonly played under the name of “Hunk Over Dee.” 1896 Beard Outdoor Games 305 Long Is. NY, Hunkety : A Long Island I Spy, with a Wicket. . . As in ordinary I Spy . . “It” searches for the other boys, and when he discovers a playmate he rushes home to his den, and, placing his hands upon the goal, shouts “One, two, three!” and calls the boy’s name that he has spied. If the hider discovered by “It” does not reach home or kick the stick over before “It” finishes his sentence the hider is caught, and “It” goes out to seek the others, and the game goes on. 1907 Keyser Hist. Germantown 245 sePA (as of 1850s), How different were the games of those days from those popular at the present time. “Hide-and-whoop,” “I spy,” “Tiger,” and “Hunk-a-dee,” were some of our favorite games. 1916 Textile World Jrl. 51.2920, [Advt of the Craig Ridgway & Son Co. of Coatsville PA:] We run this big ad. here once a month. The other weeks we speak the same piece in smaller print over opposite the Buyers’ Guide. “Hunky Dee!” see if you can find us. 1946 Daily Home News (New Brunswick NJ) 5 Apr 4/1, “Then,” says Bill, “there was ‘Sneaky Joe,’ otherwise known as ‘Hunky Dee.’ The ‘it’ hunts the hiders or chases those he sees. Clutching one, he must say ‘Sneaky Joe’ or ‘Hunky Dee’ once, twice, three times before the quarry can wriggle lose [sic]. Each boy caught joins the chase until all are ‘hunky-deed’—and this game was played only where there were fences to climb.