What are some other names for nunchucks?
May 18, 2019 12:17 PM   Subscribe

At the root of my question is a disagreement I'm having with my wife over the word chockos, which in my neighborhood as an adolescent in 1970s suburban Chicago, was more commonly used than nunchucks. We knew they were more commonly known as nunchucks, but most dorky teens smacking themselves in the forehead trying to learn to use them called them chockos. I can't find anywhere on the web where chockos shows up as a synonym or slang. Was this really only true in my sprawling suburban neighborhood?
posted by Stanczyk to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Now that I think of it, there were a few Latinx kids in the neighborhood. I can't remember if they introduced us to that term, but they were better with the nunchucks than the rest of us.
posted by Stanczyk at 12:21 PM on May 18, 2019

I grew up in the Chicago western suburbs around the same time and only heard them referred to as nunchucks. This is the first time I’ve heard of chockos.
posted by bookmammal at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2019

Could it be a pun? In Spanish "choques" means stun (as in stun gun), or clash/smash/impact. Calling them nunchoques is a very good joke, and it may have come from that.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:27 PM on May 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

In Bellevue, WA in the late 70s/early 80s I heard people referring to them as nunchaku as well as nunchucks and numchucks.

Wikipedia has more names, including "chaku sticks," so I could easily believe "chockos" is a corruption of a more widely-used name for the weapon.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2019

Best answer: Spanish Wikipedia says "es más conocido como nunchaco, linchaco o simplemente chaco" ("it's better known as nunchaco, linchaco, or just chaco").

And Spanish chaco would be pronounced with a broad a-as-in-father, so that an English-speaker could easily hear/spell it as "chocko."

Which makes me think it was indeed borrowed through Spanish, and that the path was Japanese nunchaku to Spanish nunchaco, then abbreviated to chaco, then to your "chocko."
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:42 PM on May 18, 2019 [13 favorites]

Googling "nunchaku chaco" or "nunchaco chaco" also turns up a bunch of Spanish-language pages where both words are used (often as two different hashtags on the same post, or two different descriptions of the same for-sale item).
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:45 PM on May 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

As an adolescent in north suburban Chicago (Glenview / Niles / Des Plaines) in the mid to late 80's I can also confirm having heard nunchucks referred to as chackos, just to add a data point.
posted by Reverend John at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah the Wikipedia page is at Nunchaku, your crew was just latching on to the latter syllables and moving the vowels a bit. I think I’ve heard ‘chocks’ a few times in my life, and ‘chucks’ and ‘chockos’ too. I am ~7 yrs younger than you, grew up in OH.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2019

As a kid in SF East Bay area in the 1970s, I heard nunchucks referred to as chacko sticks and nunchackos.
posted by zombiedance at 7:47 PM on May 18, 2019

About 10 years younger, adolescent starting in 1980, Western suburbs we called them numchucks
posted by Ironmouth at 1:27 AM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

When I first encountered them they were called Rice Flails
posted by mrbenn at 5:01 AM on May 19, 2019

« Older a medium size internet   |   What was this humorous short I read sometime in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.