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[foh-nee] /ˈfoʊ ni/
adjective, phonier, phoniest, noun, plural phoneys, verb (used with object), phoneyed, phoneying.
Related forms
phoneyness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for phoney
  • Such disruptions may cut spam but will not put the lucrative phoney pharmacies out of business.
  • Today's phoney war could quickly turn into a real dogfight.
  • Proving that it is phoney would tax even the brightest lawyer.
  • The sad truth is neither of these phoney claims have materialised.
  • We need to promote green energy that is not a phoney sop to corporate interests.
  • But this goes beyond the common charge that he was a phoney, or a liar.
  • Stop the phoney-baloney stuff and concentrate on the real issues.
British Dictionary definitions for phoney


adjective -nier, -niest
not genuine; fake
(of a person) insincere or pretentious
noun (pl) -neys, -nies
an insincere or pretentious person
something that is not genuine; a fake
Derived Forms
phoneyness, especially (US) phoniness, noun
Word Origin
C20: origin uncertain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for phoney



Not real or genuine; false; fake: You phony little fake (1900+)

  1. A fake thing: That window's a phony, it don't open (1902+)
  2. A person who affects some identity, role, nature, etc; poseur: some phony calling himself a writer (1902+)

: I ain't phoneying them woids (1942+)

[fr late 1700s British underworld slang fawney fr Irish fa´inne, ''ring,'' referring to a swindle in which the fawney-dropper drops a cheap ring before the victim, then is persuaded to sell it as if it were valuable; as the sequence of spellings, phoney and later phony, indicates, the US spelling is probably based on an attested folk etymology revealing the notion that one's feelings or even identity could be readily falsified on the telephone]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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