1

phony

play
adjective pho·ny \ˈfō-nē\
variants: or less commonly

phoney

Definition of phony

phonier

;

phoniest

  1. :  not genuine or real: such asa (1) :  intended to deceive or mislead (2) :  intended to defraud :  counterfeitb :  arousing suspicion :  probably dishonest something phony about the storyc :  having no basis in fact :  fictitious phony publicity storiesd :  false, sham a phony namee :  making a false show: as (1) :  hypocritical (2) :  specious has a phony poetic elegance — New Republic

phonily

play \ˈfō-ni-lē\ adverb

phoniness

play \ˈfō-nē-nəs\ noun

phony was our Word of the Day on 02/12/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of phony in a sentence

  1. a phony watch with a designer logo

  2. she always has this phony smile just before she betrays you

Did You Know?

It's the backstory of phony that deserves our attention. Phony (which dates from the early 1900s) is believed to be an alteration of the British fawney, the word for a gilded brass ring used in a confidence game called the "fawney rig." In this game, the trickster drops a ring (or a purse with some valuables in it) and runs to pick the item up at the same time as the poor sap who notices it on the ground. The trickster asserts that the found treasure should be split between them. The one who's "found" the item, convinced now of its value, chooses instead to give the con artist some money in order to keep the item, which is, of course, phony.

Origin and Etymology of phony

perhaps alteration of fawney gilded brass ring used in the fawney rig, a confidence game, from Irish fáinne ring, from Old Irish ánne — more at anus


First Known Use: 1893


2

phony

noun pho·ny
variants: or less commonly

phoney

Definition of phony

plural

phonies

also

phoneys

  1. :  one that is phony

Examples of phony in a sentence

  1. According to him, politics is full of phonies.

  2. I don't think she ever meant to help us. What a phony!

1902

First Known Use of phony

1902


3

phony

verb pho·ny

Definition of phony

phonied

;

phonying

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  counterfeit, fake —often used with up a paper phonied up on the spur of the moment — William Faulkner

Examples of phony in a sentence

  1. the terrorists were able to move around the country using phonied driver's licenses

1940

First Known Use of phony

1940


-phony

noun combining form pho·ny
variants: or less commonly

-phonia

Definition of -phony

  1. 1 :  sound telephony

  2. 2 usually -phonia :  speech disorder of a (specified) type dysphonia

Origin and Etymology of -phony

Latin -phonia, from Greek -phōnia, from -phōnos sounding — more at -phone


PHONY Defined for English Language Learners

1

phony

play
adjective pho·ny \ˈfō-nē\

Definition of phony for English Language Learners

  • : not true, real, or genuine : intended to make someone think something that is not true

  • of a person : not honest or sincere : saying things that are meant to deceive people


2

phony

noun pho·ny

Definition of phony for English Language Learners

  • : a person who pretends to be someone else or to have feelings or abilities that he or she does not really have : a person who is not sincere

  • : something that is not real or genuine


PHONY Defined for Kids

1

phony

play
adjective pho·ny \ˈfō-nē\
variants: also

phoney

\ˈfō-nē\

Definition of phony for Students

phonier

;

phoniest

  1. :  not real or genuine a phony dollar bill The principal's laugh sounded phony … — Andrew Clements, Frindle


2

phony

play
noun pho·ny
variants: also

phoney

Definition of phony for Students

plural

phonies

also

phoneys

  1. 1 :  a person who is not sincere

  2. 2 :  something that is not real or genuine



Seen and Heard

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