Definition of crony in US English:



derogatory, informal
  • A close friend or companion.

    ‘he went gambling with his cronies’
    • ‘Former party leaders and their cronies have been questioned for corruption allegations.’
    • ‘When I'm out with my grandfather and his cronies, they all seem to leer at me and behave like horny stags in rutting season.’
    • ‘The Thai prime minister and his political cronies are multi-millionaires.’
    • ‘Worse, he would lose all control of the network of corrupt businesses he has created to support his family and his cronies.’
    • ‘Will you stop the practice of appointing ex cronies to plum overseas postings?’
    • ‘They can do it at the voting booth every 4 years, but it's the same old cronies that run for office.’
    • ‘But as an ex-Clinton crony he would say that, wouldn't he?’
    • ‘Some of these oligarchs developed especially close relations with Yeltsin and his cronies.’
    • ‘Being a crony of the president has never been grounds for disqualification.’
    • ‘It is this sheep-like loyalty that has turned many a hard-nosed businessman into a servile crony.’
    • ‘What, they might not be able to get one of their crony buddies a job in the future?’
    • ‘All that's needed is the support of a few like-minded political cronies and hey presto!’
    • ‘Black and his cronies had sold themselves company assets at knockdown prices.’
    • ‘With the stockmarkets slumping, New Labour's business cronies are not so keen to stump up donations.’
    • ‘He wakes up late on Sunday morning and meets for brunch with a few of his cronies.’
    • ‘I would not describe him as a political crony.’
    • ‘They smash up whole countries, then give their cronies contracts to rebuild them.’
    • ‘As is now apparent, he and his cronies seemed to have lied spectacularly about it all.’
    • ‘Critics dismissed him as a political crony with little emergency-services experience.’
    • ‘Labour and their cronies of do-gooders now believe that first and second time burglars should not be sent to jail.’
    friend, best friend, companion, boon companion, intimate, familiar, confidant, confidante, alter ego, second self
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century (originally Cambridge university slang): from Greek khronios ‘long-lasting’ (here used to mean ‘contemporary’), from khronos ‘time’. Compare with chum.