- 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.
- something that is phony; a counterfeit or fake.
- an insincere, pretentious, or deceitful person: He thought my friends were a bunch of phonies.
- to falsify; counterfeit; fabricate (often followed by up): to phony up a document.
Origin of phony
SynonymsSee more synonyms for phony on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for phonies
Why the low pay and job insecurity that come with “emotional work” is creating a nation full of phonies.Why Your Waiter Hates You
October 26, 2014
In a field filled with phonies, Bob Kerrey has always been the real deal.Bob Kerrey Closes In On Reclaiming His Nebraska Senate Seat
October 29, 2012
But Chaffetz and these other phonies aren't interested in the truth.Benghazi: Who Can Take These Hypocrites Seriously?
October 10, 2012
In YA lit, non-white teens still tend to fight racism and violence more than cliques and phonies.The End of the White Outsider
July 25, 2011
In his eyes, acting was a commonplace skill, and the whole admiring East Coast establishment was populated by phonies.Courting Brando
December 19, 2008
Anyway, I wouldn't blame her, after the exhibition I made the other night, for classin' me with the phonies.Shorty McCabe
- a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney
Word Origin and History for phonies
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.