Definition of ponce in English:



  • 1derogatory An effeminate man.

    • ‘‘When I hit my teenage years I said ‘acting's for ponces - I want to be a rock star and sing in a band instead’.’
    • ‘There are no nancy girls, cross-dressers, pansies, butches, flip-flops or ponces.’
    • ‘So everybody knows the British are tea-drinking, snaggle-toothed ponces, and gay to boot.’
    • ‘You know you love prancing around like a ponce with new clothes.’
    • ‘He proudly admits he is from hard-working peasant stock and sees me as lazy, vain and probably as a ponce.’
    coward, weakling, milksop, milquetoast, namby-pamby, crybaby, baby
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  • 2A man who lives off a prostitute's earnings.

    • ‘So a colleague, faced with sentencing a Living on Immoral Earnings charge, whispered to the Clerk ‘How much do you give a ponce?’’
    • ‘Someone called me a ‘art-ponce’- the meaning of ponce is ‘someone who procures customers for whores’ - look it up.’
    procurer, procuress
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  • 1with object Seek to obtain (something) without paying for it or doing anything in return.

    ‘I ponced a ciggie off her’
    • ‘I did start an Amazon wishlist but I kind of think that's the equivalent of hanging around in bars poncing drinks off strangers.’
    • ‘But instead I've just been poncing twenties and fifties off friends, relatives and, finally, acquaintances in the oddest of places: a whole range of car parks, the new malls and basically anywhere near a cashpoint machine.’
    • ‘I lost interest when The Bride went to ponce a sword off the Sushi Guy.’
    • ‘I ponce cigarettes off Davo.’
    • ‘Although I had resolved that morning to give up the poncing lark, by now it was several hours past the midday cocktail hour so I drove to north-west London and ponced a whopping £200 off a TV producer I know called Roy, a lovely bloke.’
    be a pimp, be pimping
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  • 2no object Live off a prostitute's earnings.

    ‘he was arrested for poncing on the girl’
    • ‘For Phoenix’s interviewees poncing meant being trapped into prostitution and accepting the idea of prostitution as a trap that could not be escaped.’
    • ‘Vice squads have been disbanded all over the country and pimping (or poncing as it was once known) has proliferated.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • ponce about/around

    • Behave in an affected or ineffectual way.

      ‘I ponced around in front of the mirror’
      • ‘Strangely the minute the cameras left the room they all stopped poncing around and ate fairly quietly too.’
      • ‘I have to admit that at first I was very sceptical and cynical about all these movie people poncing around in Cannes.’
      • ‘Billy is a Mike Tyson-shaped American who runs his class from a gym full of real people - quite unlike the odour-free folk poncing around in front of pastel gazebos that you see in the British videos.’
      • ‘So many people there were just poncing around in rubber outfits.’
      • ‘The last thing we need is another generation of political committees, poncing around the country.’
      • ‘Ranulf's real name - when he's not poncing around in a Viking costume - is Dave Vale.’
      • ‘The menu was sumptuous and fairly daring (we skipped the ‘calf's snout’ and the ‘jaw with endives’) and the waiters were smarter than the clients, but Spaniards are innately informal so no one was poncing around in cummerbunds and cravats.’
      • ‘Nothing worse than seeing all those smug Lib Dems poncing around, as if they own the place.’
      • ‘They're all poncing around in aprons with their trousers rolled up and their left breasts exposed.’
      • ‘The idea of him poncing around in everything but doublet and hose in John Byrne's acerbic working-class comedy is hilarious and, showman that he is, Gray tells it with much self-deprecating laughter.’
  • ponce something up

    • Make overly elaborate and unnecessary changes to something in an attempt to improve it.

      ‘they would not let the food alone, they had to ponce it up in some way or other’
      • ‘I was expecting it to be all ponced up, but no, the Third World is staging a vigorous comeback.’
      • ‘NSW's great iconic pubs are all in the bush, the city ones having been long since ponced up.’


Late 19th century: perhaps from the verb pounce.