AskDefine | Define phony

Dictionary Definition

phony adj : fraudulent; having a misleading appearance [syn: bogus, fake, phoney, bastard] n : a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he does not hold [syn: hypocrite, dissembler, phoney, pretender] [also: phoniest, phonier]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings





  1. Fraudulent; fake; having a misleading appearance.
    A good jeweler should be able to tell a real stone from a phony one.


sense fraudulent bogus, counterfeit, fake

Derived terms


Fraudulent; fake


  1. A faker, a person who professes beliefs or opinions that he or she does not hold or assumes an identity other than their own.
    He's as phony as a three-dollar bill.


sense faker dissembler, pretender, fake



Extensive Definition

In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and is also a civil law violation. Many hoaxes are fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not technically frauds. Defrauding people of money is presumably the most common type of fraud, but there have also been many fraudulent "discoveries" in art, archaeology, and science.


In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them – usually, to obtain property or services unjustly. Fraud can be accomplished through the aid of forged objects. In the criminal law of common law jurisdictions it may be called "theft by deception," "larceny by trick," "larceny by fraud and deception" or something similar.
Marriage Fraud can take several forms and is the act of entering a marriage for personal gain rather than a genuine desire to enter into a sincere marital relationship. Marriage Fraud is usually associated with obtaining immigration benefits. In the United States, marriage fraud for immigration purposes is punishable under INA §204(c)(1) and the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986. Possible criminal penalties include $250,000 and 5 years in prison as well as deportation and a permanent bar against receiving future immigration status. Marriage Fraud can be either unilateral or bilateral Unity and Immigration Policy in the United States. In a unilateral marriage fraud, only one party is aware of the fraud and the fraud is against both the immigration service as well as the other party. The innocent party may file a lawsuit and/or annulment of the marriage. In a bilateral fraud, both parties are aware of it and both parties are subject to criminal penalties.
In academia and science, fraud can refer to academic fraud – the falsifying of research findings which is a form of scientific misconduct – and in common use intellectual fraud signifies falsification of a position taken or implied by an author or speaker, within a book, controversy or debate, or an idea deceptively presented to hide known logical weaknesses. Journalistic fraud implies a similar notion, the falsification of journalistic findings.
Fraud can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, phone, and the internet (computer crime and internet fraud).
Acts which may constitute criminal fraud include:
Fraud, in addition to being a criminal act, is also a type of civil law violation known as a tort. A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. A civil fraud typically involves the act of intentionally making a false representation of a material fact, with the intent to deceive, which is reasonably relied upon by another person to that person's detriment. A "false representation" can take many forms, such as:
  • A false statement of fact, known to be false at the time it was made;
  • A statement of fact with no reasonable basis to make that statement;
  • A promise of future performance made with an intent, at the time the promise was made, not to perform as promised;
  • A statement of opinion based on a false statement of fact;
  • A statement of opinion that the maker knows to be false; or
  • An expression of opinion that is false, made by one claiming or implying to have special knowledge of the subject matter of the opinion. "Special knowledge" in this case means knowledge or information superior to that possessed by the other party, and to which the other party did not have equal access.
In the UK a report concluded that the total costs of fraud and dealing with fraud in the year 2005-2006 was at least 13.9 Billion GBP.

Notable frauds

See also


phony in Czech: Podvod
phony in Danish: Bedrageri
phony in German: Betrug
phony in Esperanto: Trompo
phony in French: Escroquerie
phony in Hebrew: עוולת התרמית
phony in Croatian: Prijevara
phony in Indonesian: Penipuan
phony in Italian: Truffa
phony in Japanese: 詐欺
phony in Dutch: Fraude
phony in Norwegian: Bedrageri
phony in Polish: Oszustwo
phony in Portuguese: Fraude
phony in Russian: Мошенничество
phony in Simple English: Fraud
phony in Swedish: Bedrägeri
phony in Chinese: 詐騙

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Joseph Surface, Pecksniff, Tartuffe, actor, affected, affecter, agent, alike, alternate, alternative, analogy, ape, aped, apocryphal, artificial, assumed, backup, bastard, blagueur, bluff, bluffer, bogus, brummagem, canter, certified copy, change, changeling, charlatan, cheat, clinquant, colorable, colored, comparison, conformist, consimilar, copied, copier, copy, copycat, copyist, counterfeit, counterfeited, counterfeiter, cuckoo, deceiver, deputy, dissembler, dissimulator, distorted, double, dressed up, dummy, echo, echoer, echoist, ectype, embellished, embroidered, equal, equivalent, ersatz, exchange, factitious, fair copy, fair-weather friend, faithful copy, fake, faked, fakement, faker, false, false friend, falsified, favoring, feigned, fictitious, fictive, fill-in, following, forged, forger, forgery, fourflusher, frame-up, fraud, garbled, ghost, ghostwriter, hoax, hokey, hollow man, homogeneous, humbug, hypocrite, hypocritical, icon, identical, illegitimate, image, imitated, imitation, imitator, impersonator, impostor, junk, junky, like, likeness, locum tenens, make-believe, makeshift, malingerer, man of straw, man-made, mannerist, mealymouth, metaphor, metonymy, mime, mimer, mimic, mimicked, mimicker, mock, mocker, mockingbird, monkey, mountebank, nearly reproduced, next best thing, not unlike, paper tiger, parrot, paste, pasticcio, pastiche, performer, personnel, perverted, pharisee, picture, pinch, pinch hitter, pinchbeck, plagiarist, plagiarized, playactor, poll-parrot, polly, polly-parrot, portrait, poser, poseur, pretended, pretender, provisional, proxy, pseudo, put-on, put-up job, quack, quacksalver, quackster, quasi, queer, relief, replacement, representation, representative, resemblance, resembling, reserve, reserves, ringer, rip-off, saltimbanco, sanctimonious fraud, second string, secondary, self-styled, semblance, sham, shammer, sheep, shoddy, sign, similar, similitude, simulacrum, simulated, simulator, smacking of, snide, snuffler, so-called, soi-disant, something like, spare, spares, spoof, spurious, stand-in, stopgap, straw man, sub, substituent, substitute, substitution, succedaneum, suggestive of, summer soldier, superseder, supplanter, supposititious, surrogate, swindle, symbol, synecdoche, synthetic, temporary, tentative, third string, tin, tinsel, titivated, token, twisted, unauthentic, understudy, ungenuine, uniform with, unnatural, unreal, utility, utility player, vicar, vicarious, vice-president, vice-regent, warped, whited sepulcher
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