One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A disreputable or dishonest person (often used as a general term of abuse)‘my father thinks the whole world is a bunch of gonifs’
- ‘I Can Get It for You Wholesale is told as a first person narrative by Harry Bogen, schnorrer extraordinaire, hustler, goniff, chiseller, unscrupulous weasel and sleazebag for all seasons.’
Mid 19th century: from Yiddish ganev, from Hebrew gannāḇ ‘thief’.
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