Definition of phoney in English:

phoney

(North American phony)

adjective

informal
  • Not genuine; fraudulent.

    ‘phoney cruise-ship job offers’
    • ‘Three illegal aliens are accused of using phony documents to get jobs at a U.S. military base.’
    • ‘He'll continue to have a hard time convincing voters he isn't a dangerous and phoney pretender with no business shooting higher than, say, the Sports Ministry.’
    • ‘A phony Tiffany brand watch, whose genuine model carries 160,000 yen price tag in Japan, is on sale for 150 yuan.’
    • ‘But isn't there also a growing problem with counterfeit phony drugs, pharmaceuticals, as well?’
    • ‘The 1990s was a decade of fraudulent privatisations, phony education and poverty alleviating campaigns.’
    • ‘For as little as $50, Americans desperate for jobs are buying phony degrees with seals from prestigious universities like Columbia.’
    • ‘Perhaps he can find some money to put towards some genuine tax reform by clamping down on these phoney charities.’
    • ‘These offer a phoney impression of simplicity, reducing complex manifesto policies to a few slogans.’
    • ‘There was a group that modeled themselves on Wittgenstein, which I thought was quite phony and pretentious.’
    • ‘Sadly, phoney clinics offer spurious tests which will diagnose allergies in virtually anybody.’
    • ‘The report was triggered in part by a $146-million fraud uncovered last year in which the department paid phoney invoices during a 10-year period.’
    • ‘Who could have failed to see that there were no manufacturer's name or address or ingredients or shelf-life on the packages of the phoney milk powder?’
    • ‘Traditional fakes come from a process called offset lithography that produces phony dollars without the ‘raised ink’ feel of genuine bills.’
    • ‘You have to show genuine empathy, not phony sympathy.’
    • ‘So what touchstone can we use to distinguish genuine from phoney forwardists?’
    • ‘It's too late, of course, and Affleck is forced to maintain his phony identity, fake his way through the casino hit, and hope he makes it alive to final credits.’
    • ‘And how would the time spent by the presenters of ‘happenings’ and other such phony pretences of art be measured?’
    • ‘Access to the properties is gained by putting a phoney offer down.’
    • ‘Labour has cooked up this phoney row just to manufacture cheap headlines on the eve of a general election.’
    • ‘There is usually a complete lack of ceremony with this type of person as they are not a phony psychic or exorcist.’
    bogus, not genuine, sham, false, fake, fraudulent, forged, feigned, counterfeit, so-called, spurious, pseudo
    View synonyms

noun

informal
  • A fraudulent person or thing.

    • ‘What they hate is being patronised by phonies.’
    • ‘It's true to say that there always have been and always will be phonies and charlatans claiming psychic powers either for profit or for notoriety.’
    • ‘I never feel comfortable at an upscale restaurant, where I often feel like a phony trying to fake clever conversation, social appropriateness, and political correctness.’
    • ‘That's the conundrum of the modern skeptics movement: Intelligent Design theorists and deniers of global warming may very well be phonies and scoundrels, but no one is going to debunk them in the classic sense.’
    • ‘She was very acute at spotting the fake and the phony.’
    • ‘Salinger has given voice to what every adolescent or at least what every middle class adolescent thinks but is too inhibited to say, which is that success is a sham and that successful people are mostly phonies.’
    • ‘People who have true family values live by them, while deviant phonies incessantly talk about them.’
    • ‘Like me he understood that the people around him were fakes and phoneys and pretty soon I realised he hated school as much as I did.’
    • ‘Veterans call them by all sorts of names: phonies, fakes, imposters, wannabes.’
    • ‘To be blunt about it, by any normal standard most of these guys are liars and phonies.’
    • ‘I'm a fake, a phony, a fraud, an impostor, and a charlatan of the worse degree.’
    • ‘What a miserable bunch of phoneys they are, both the traitors and their spin doctors.’
    • ‘But this argument is largely a phony because the filibuster rules have been changed by the Democrats in the past.’
    • ‘But any moment the spell might fail, their eyes would be opened and they would realise I was a fraud, a phoney.’
    • ‘From the photograph down, everything was a fraud and a phoney.’
    • ‘So, you may be saying, these ‘rule-breakers,’ with their aura of rebellion, are nothing but phonies!’
    • ‘Why are you playing the edges; why bother to debunk, why spend your time exposing people that are outright frauds, phonies, or who are merely self deluded?’
    • ‘But other merchants recognized the bills as phonies right away.’
    • ‘At the conclusion of each episode, the one phony is revealed.’
    • ‘Here we deal with frauds and phonies, money grabbers and odd-balls.’
    impostor, sham, fake, fraud, mountebank, quack, cheat, swindler, fraudster, confidence trickster, defrauder, hoaxer, bluffer, pretender, masquerader, charlatan, rogue, scoundrel
    counterfeit, fake, forgery, sham, hoax, imitation, copy, reproduction, replica, facsimile, dummy, model, toy
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

phoney

/ˈfəʊni/