- The definition of phony is someone or something that is not genuine, or not honest or insincere.
A knock-off Gucci purse is an example of a purse that would be described as phony.
- Phony is something or someone that is not as it seems, or a person who pretends to be something he is not.
Someone who is poor but who pretends to be rich to impress others is an example of a phony.
Origin of phonyaltered from British thieves' argot fawney, gilt ring (passed off as gold by swindlers) from Irish fáinne
- something not genuine; sham; fake
- a person who is not what he or she pretends to be; one who deceives, dissembles, is insincere, etc.; fraud
Origin of -phonyfrom Classical Greek ph?n?, a sound: see phono-
- Not genuine or real; sham or counterfeit: a phony credit card; a phony beard.
- Spurious, deceptive, or false: a phony excuse.
- Fraudulent, deceitful, or dishonest: a phony expert in investing.
nounpl. pho·nies, also pho·neys
- A fraudulent or dishonest person.
- Something that is not genuine; a fake.
Origin of phonyAlteration of fawney gilt brass ring used by swindlers from Irish Gaelic fáinne ring from Old Irish
Origin of -phonyGreek -phōniā from phōnē sound, voice ; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
(comparative phonier, superlative phoniest)
- A person who assumes an identity or quality other than their own.
- He claims to be a doctor, but he's nothing but a fast-talking phony.
- A person who professes beliefs or opinions that they do not hold.
- He's such a phony, he doesn't believe half of what he says.
Perhaps an alteration of fawney “gilt brass ring used by swindlers" (1781), from Irish fÃ¡inne (“ring").