• synonyms


or pho·ney

See more synonyms for phony on Thesaurus.com
adjective, pho·ni·er, pho·ni·est.
  1. not real or genuine; fake; counterfeit: a phony diamond.
  2. false or deceiving; not truthful; concocted: a phony explanation.
  3. insincere or deceitful; affected or pretentious: a phony sales representative.
Show More
noun, plural pho·nies.
  1. something that is phony; a counterfeit or fake.
  2. an insincere, pretentious, or deceitful person: He thought my friends were a bunch of phonies.
Show More
verb (used with object), pho·nied, pho·ny·ing.
  1. to falsify; counterfeit; fabricate (often followed by up): to phony up a document.
Show More

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


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com


  1. a combining form used in the formation of abstract nouns corresponding to nouns ending in -phone: telephony.
Show More

Origin of -phony

< Greek -phōnia; see -phone, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for phony

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I looks at him, and then, thinking of the phony money, I looks at Durks.

    Sonnie-Boy's People

    James B. Connolly

  • Their phony history was set up to deceive their own people as well as others.

    Cubs of the Wolf

    Raymond F. Jones

  • And you knew, right away, that Swami was a phony from Flatbush.

    Sense from Thought Divide

    Mark Irvin Clifton

  • For there's nothin' phony about my new Uncle Kyrle, take it from me!

  • Say, Tuttle, you know you can't work any 'phony deal on the Corrugated.


    Sewell Ford

British Dictionary definitions for phony


adjective, noun -nier or -niest or plural -nies
  1. a variant spelling (esp US) of phoney
Show More
Derived Formsphoniness, noun


n combining form
  1. indicating a specified type of soundcacophony; euphony
Show More
Derived Forms-phonic, adj combining form

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for phony


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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phony in Medicine


  1. Sound:microphony.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.