noun, plural mur·phies.

an Irish or white potato.
any of various confidence games in which a victim is left with a sealed envelope supposedly containing money, but which contains only newspaper or scrap paper cut to the same size as paper money.

verb (used with object), mur·phied, mur·phy·ing.

to victimize or dupe in such a manner.

Origin of murphy

First recorded in 1805–15; special uses of Murphy, a typical Irish surname




Frank,1890–1949, U.S. statesman and jurist: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1940–49.
Isaac,1861–96, U.S. thoroughbred racehorse jockey.
William Par·ry [par-ee] /ˈpær i/, 1892–1987, U.S. physician: Nobel Prize in medicine 1934. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for murphy

Contemporary Examples of murphy

Historical Examples of murphy

  • Two only lie in this grave, Mr. Murphy and a lady who died of fever.

  • Murphy cast one despairing glance about him and slouched to his undoing.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

  • Murphy fumbled with the strap, playing desperately for time.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

  • Murphy, of Mullough; he's used to these things—I'll send over to him.

  • Look at the case of District-inspector Murphy, of Woodford, in this county.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for murphy


noun plural -phies

a dialect or informal word for potato

Word Origin for murphy

C19: from the common Irish surname Murphy



Alex. born 1939, English rugby league player and coach; scored 16 tries in 27 test matches for Great Britain (1958–71)
Eddie, full name Edward Regan Murphy . born 1951, US film actor and comedian. His films include 48 Hours (1982), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Coming to America (1988), Dr Dolittle (1998), and, as a voice artist, the Shrek series of animated films (2001–10)
William Parry. 1892–1987, US physician: with G. R. Minot, he discovered the liver treatment for anaemia and they shared, with G. H. Whipple, the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1934
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 murphy


Gaelic Murchadh "sea-warrior." The Celtic "sea" element is also in names Muriel (q.v.), Murdoch (Old Irish Muireadhach, Old Welsh Mordoc "mariner"), etc. Murphy bed (1925) is named for U.S. inventor William Lawrence Murphy (1876-1959). By happy coincidence, Murphy was an illiterate 18c.-19c. perversion of Morpheus, god of sleep.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for murphy


[mûrfē]William Parry 1892-1987

American physician. He shared a 1934 Nobel Prize for discovering that a diet of liver relieves anemia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.