1Irish Now chiefly United States regional (in African-American usage). A sweetheart, a darling. Chiefly as a form of address, originally especially to a child.
2An utterance of ‘honey child’, especially as a stereotypical feature of the speech of the southern United States.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Gerald Griffin (1803–1840), novelist, playwright, and poet. From honey + child.