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phony

or pho·ney

[foh-nee]
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adjective, pho·ni·er, pho·ni·est.
  1. not real or genuine; fake; counterfeit: a phony diamond.
  2. false or deceiving; not truthful; concocted: a phony explanation.
  3. insincere or deceitful; affected or pretentious: a phony sales representative.
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noun, plural pho·nies.
  1. something that is phony; a counterfeit or fake.
  2. an insincere, pretentious, or deceitful person: He thought my friends were a bunch of phonies.
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verb (used with object), pho·nied, pho·ny·ing.
  1. to falsify; counterfeit; fabricate (often followed by up): to phony up a document.
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Origin of phony

1895–1900; perhaps alteration and respelling of fawney (slang) finger ring (< Irish fsptáinne), if taken to mean “false” in the phrase fawney rig a confidence game in which a brass ring is sold as a gold one
Related formspho·ni·ly, adverbpho·ni·ness, noun

Synonyms

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4. fraud, imitation, hoax.

-phony

  1. a combining form used in the formation of abstract nouns corresponding to nouns ending in -phone: telephony.
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Origin of -phony

< Greek -phōnia; see -phone, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phony

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I looks at him, and then, thinking of the phony money, I looks at Durks.

    Sonnie-Boy's People

    James B. Connolly

  • Their phony history was set up to deceive their own people as well as others.

    Cubs of the Wolf

    Raymond F. Jones

  • And you knew, right away, that Swami was a phony from Flatbush.

    Sense from Thought Divide

    Mark Irvin Clifton

  • For there's nothin' phony about my new Uncle Kyrle, take it from me!

  • Say, Tuttle, you know you can't work any 'phony deal on the Corrugated.

    Torchy

    Sewell Ford


British Dictionary definitions for phony

phony

adjective, noun -nier or -niest or plural -nies
  1. a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney
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Derived Formsphoniness, noun

-phony

n combining form
  1. indicating a specified type of soundcacophony; euphony
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Derived Forms-phonic, adj combining form

Word Origin

from Greek -phōnia, from phōnē sound
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

Word Origin and History for phony

adj.

also phoney, "not genuine," 1899, perhaps an alteration of fawney "gilt brass ring used by swindlers."

His most successful swindle was selling "painted" or "phony" diamonds. He had a plan of taking cheap stones, and by "doctoring" them make them have a brilliant and high class appearance. His confederates would then take the diamonds to other pawnbrokers and dispose of them. ["The Jewelers Review," New York, April 5, 1899]

The noun meaning "phony person or thing" is attested from 1902.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phony in Medicine

-phony

suff.
  1. Sound:microphony.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.