[ foh-nee ]
/ ˈfoʊ ni /
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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.
OTHER WORDS FOR phony
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Question 1 of 7
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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
OTHER WORDS FROM phonypho·ni·ly, adverbpho·ni·ness, noun
Other definitions for phony (2 of 2)
a combining form used in the formation of abstract nouns corresponding to nouns ending in -phone: telephony.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use phony in a sentence
Why the low pay and job insecurity that come with “emotional work” is creating a nation full of phonies.Why Your Waiter Hates You|Jedediah Purdy|October 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He was too cynical about politics, and he could spot phonies whichever party they were in.Jack Germond, a Reporter From Another Time|Eleanor Clift|August 14, 2013|DAILY BEAST
In a field filled with phonies, Bob Kerrey has always been the real deal.Bob Kerrey Closes In On Reclaiming His Nebraska Senate Seat|John Avlon|October 29, 2012|DAILY BEAST
But Chaffetz and these other phonies aren't interested in the truth.Benghazi: Who Can Take These Hypocrites Seriously?|Michael Tomasky|October 10, 2012|DAILY BEAST
In YA lit, non-white teens still tend to fight racism and violence more than cliques and phonies.The End of the White Outsider|Ned Vizzini|July 25, 2011|DAILY BEAST
If your idea pays off, Tom, we should be able to checkmate every move those phonies and their allies make!Tom Swift and The Visitor from Planet X|Victor Appleton
Anyway, I wouldn't blame her, after the exhibition I made the other night, for classin' me with the phonies.Shorty McCabe|Sewell Ford
British Dictionary definitions for phony (1 of 2)
/ (ˈfəʊnɪ) /
adjective, noun -nier or -niest or plural -nies
a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney
Derived forms of phonyphoniness, noun
British Dictionary definitions for phony (2 of 2)
n combining form
indicating a specified type of soundcacophony; euphony
Derived forms of -phony-phonic, adj combining form
Word Origin for -phony
from Greek -phōnia, from phōnē sound
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