[ foh-nee ]
/ ˈfoʊ ni /

adjective, pho·ni·er, pho·ni·est, noun, plural pho·neys, verb (used with object), pho·neyed, pho·ney·ing.

Nearby words

  1. phonetician,
  2. phoneticize,
  3. phonetics,
  4. phonetist,
  5. phonevision,
  6. phoniatrics,
  7. phonic,
  8. phonics,
  9. phono,
  10. phono plug

Related formspho·ney·ness, noun


or pho·ney

[ foh-nee ]
/ ˈfoʊ ni /

adjective, pho·ni·er, pho·ni·est.

not real or genuine; fake; counterfeit: a phony diamond.
false or deceiving; not truthful; concocted: a phony explanation.
insincere or deceitful; affected or pretentious: a phony sales representative.

noun, plural pho·nies.

something that is phony; a counterfeit or fake.
an insincere, pretentious, or deceitful person: He thought my friends were a bunch of phonies.

verb (used with object), pho·nied, pho·ny·ing.

to falsify; counterfeit; fabricate (often followed by up): to phony up a document.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phoney

British Dictionary definitions for phoney


esp US phony


adjective -nier or -niest

not genuine; fake
(of a person) insincere or pretentious

noun plural -neys or -nies

an insincere or pretentious person
something that is not genuine; a fake
Derived Formsphoneyness or esp US phoniness, noun

Word Origin for phoney

C20: origin uncertain


/ (ˈfəʊnɪ) /

adjective, noun -nier or -niest or plural -nies

a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney
Derived Formsphoniness, noun

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 phoney


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper