What does "It’s made you one. By hokey!" mean? Does it mean - Money made him a gentleman foolishly?

As I said, you’re a gentleman. They say it takes three generations to make one. They’re off. Money’ll do it as slick as soap grease. It’s made you one. By hokey! it’s almost made one of me. I’m nearly as impolite and disagreeable and ill-mannered as these two old knickerbocker gents on each side of me that can’t sleep of nights because I bought in between ’em.”

Mammon and the Archer by O. Henry

2 Answers 2


"It's made you one" means "money has made you a gentleman".

"By hokey!" is an interjection adding emphasis, and it connects to what follows: "it's almost made one of me.". (Note that "it's" is not capitalized, because it's a continuation of the same sentence.)
Lexico "by hokey"
"An exclamation used for emphasis or to express emotions such as surprise, anger, or distress. ‘by hokey, it will have been worth it’"

  • And what exactly does it mean here in context: surprise, anger, or distress? I do not understand. I mean this: By hokey! it’s almost made one of me.
    – Vitaly
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 14:35
  • Probably surprise. It's similar to "Wow!" or "Holy crap!" or "My goodness!". It's even similar to "Oh!". Don't you have exclamations in your native language? Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 17:09

"By hokey" is one of many interjections that add emphasis.

The basic expression is "By God", used in an oath. You might add "By God" if you are making a serious promise. But many people don't like to invoke God in a casual way, and so have invented various expressions that avoid saying "God".

You can find "by gum", "by jumbo", "by heck", all are replacements for "by god" They don't add anything to the meaning, but express surprise, indignation etc. The Partridge dictionary of slang suggests "By hokey" is a New Zealand expression, but I don't know if that is correct.

So "By hokey! [Money has] almost made [a gentleman] of me" is expressing surprise at this idea, and emphasising the irony.

They are all rather old fashioned

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