[ foh-nee ]
/ ˈfoʊ ni /

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

Related forms

pho·ney·ness, noun

Definition for phoney (2 of 2)


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 forms

pho·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 (1 of 2)


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 Forms

phoneyness or esp US phoniness, noun

Word Origin for phoney

C20: origin uncertain

British Dictionary definitions for phoney (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfəʊnɪ) /

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

a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney

Derived Forms

phoniness, 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