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See more synonyms for joey on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural jo·eys. Australian.
  1. any young animal, especially a kangaroo.
  2. a young child.
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Origin of joey1

First recorded in 1830–40; origin uncertain


noun, plural jo·eys. British Slang.
  1. a threepenny piece.
  2. (formerly) a fourpenny piece.
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Origin of joey2

First recorded in 1860–65; named after Joseph Hume (1777–1855), English politician who favored the coinage of the fourpenny piece


noun, plural Jo·eys.
  1. a clown, especially in the circus or pantomime and puppet theater.
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Origin of Joey1

1895–1900; diminutive of Joseph, after Joseph Grimaldi


  1. a male given name, form of Joe or Joseph.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for joey

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Uncle Joey Fesch joined him, as if to protect and defend him.

  • I would not have your Joey if his lips were droppin' honey and his pockets droppin' gold.

  • It's early to go home, but, as I says to my Joey, there's no place like it; and nowther is there.

  • "Jamie was richt like Joey when he was a bairn," Hendry said.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • It's because my fowk's been sae guid, you an' Hendry an' Leeby an' Joey when he was livin'.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

British Dictionary definitions for joey


noun Australian informal
  1. a young kangaroo or possum
  2. a young animal or child
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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

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.
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper