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[joh-ee] /ˈdʒoʊ i/
noun, plural joeys. Australian.
any young animal, especially a kangaroo.
a young child.
Origin of joey1
First recorded in 1830-40; origin uncertain


[joh-ee] /ˈdʒoʊ i/
noun, plural joeys. British Slang.
a threepenny piece.
(formerly) a fourpenny piece.
First recorded in 1860-65; named after Joseph Hume (1777-1855), English politician who favored the coinage of the fourpenny piece


[joh-ee] /ˈdʒoʊ i/
noun, plural Joeys.
a clown, especially in the circus or pantomime and puppet theater.
1895-1900; diminutive of Joseph, after Joseph Grimaldi


[joh-ee] /ˈdʒoʊ i/
a male given name, form of Joe or Joseph. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for joey
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From habit, joey took the picture of the accident and delivered it to Nugent.

    The Prophetic Camera John McGreevey
  • Then joey turned to his companions, and opened his hand to count over the coins.

    The Queen's Scarlet George Manville Fenn
  • He was playing along with joey and the little dog at the time, and teaching the puppy to learn tricks.

    The Torch and Other Tales Eden Phillpotts
  • And what shall I do with them twenty-five hundred after I get em, joey?

  • That cannot be now, joey; you are above my situation at the Hall, even allowing that you would ever enter it.

    The Poacher Frederick Marryat
British Dictionary definitions for joey


noun (Austral, informal)
a young kangaroo or possum
a young animal or child
Word Origin
C19: from a native Australian language
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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Word Origin and History for joey

"young kangaroo," 1839, sometimes said to be from a native Australian word joè, but more recently often said to be of unknown origin. Perhaps an extended use of Joey, the familiar form of the male proper name Joseph, for which Partridge lists many common or coarse meanings in 20c. Australian slang. Farmer & Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues") quote an 1887 article on "Australian Colloquialisms":

JOEY is a familiar name for anything young or small, and is applied indifferently to a puppy, or a kitten, or a child, while a WOOD-AND-WATER-JOEY is a hanger about hotels and a doer of odd jobs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for joey



A clown

[1896+; fr the nickname of Joseph Grimaldi, famous early 1800s British clown and pantomimist]

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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