Definition of phoney in English:

phoney

(North American phony)

adjective

informal
  • Not genuine; fraudulent:

    ‘phoney cruise-ship job offers’
    • ‘These offer a phoney impression of simplicity, reducing complex manifesto policies to a few slogans.’
    • ‘Perhaps he can find some money to put towards some genuine tax reform by clamping down on these phoney charities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Three illegal aliens are accused of using phony documents to get jobs at a U.S. military base.’
    • ‘Sadly, phoney clinics offer spurious tests which will diagnose allergies in virtually anybody.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You have to show genuine empathy, not phony sympathy.’
    • ‘There was a group that modeled themselves on Wittgenstein, which I thought was quite phony and pretentious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Labour has cooked up this phoney row just to manufacture cheap headlines on the eve of a general election.’
    • ‘But isn't there also a growing problem with counterfeit phony drugs, pharmaceuticals, as well?’
    • ‘So what touchstone can we use to distinguish genuine from phoney forwardists?’
    • ‘A phony Tiffany brand watch, whose genuine model carries 160,000 yen price tag in Japan, is on sale for 150 yuan.’
    • ‘Traditional fakes come from a process called offset lithography that produces phony dollars without the ‘raised ink’ feel of genuine bills.’
    • ‘Access to the properties is gained by putting a phoney offer down.’
    • ‘And how would the time spent by the presenters of ‘happenings’ and other such phony pretences of art be measured?’
    • ‘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
    imitation, man-made, mock, ersatz, artificial, synthetic, manufactured, simulated, reproduction, replica, facsimile, dummy, model, toy
    make-believe, pretended, contrived, affected, insincere
    pretend, put-on
    cod
    View synonyms

noun

informal
  • A fraudulent person or thing.

    • ‘What they hate is being patronised by 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?’
    • ‘Veterans call them by all sorts of names: phonies, fakes, imposters, wannabes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What a miserable bunch of phoneys they are, both the traitors and their spin doctors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘People who have true family values live by them, while deviant phonies incessantly talk about them.’
    • ‘So, you may be saying, these ‘rule-breakers,’ with their aura of rebellion, are nothing but phonies!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But any moment the spell might fail, their eyes would be opened and they would realise I was a fraud, a phoney.’
    • ‘But this argument is largely a phony because the filibuster rules have been changed by the Democrats in the past.’
    • ‘But other merchants recognized the bills as phonies right away.’
    • ‘From the photograph down, everything was a fraud and a phoney.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was very acute at spotting the fake and the phony.’
    • ‘Here we deal with frauds and phonies, money grabbers and odd-balls.’
    • ‘At the conclusion of each episode, the one phony is revealed.’
    • ‘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.’
    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/