Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not genuine or real; sham or counterfeit.
  • adjective Spurious, deceptive, or false.
  • adjective Fraudulent, deceitful, or dishonest.
  • noun A fraudulent or dishonest person.
  • noun Something that is not genuine; a fake.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of the character of a ‘phone’ or of the talk heard over a ‘phone’; unsubstantial; imitational; spurious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective imitating something superior; intended to deceive; fraudulent; having a misleading appearance; not genuine; counterfeit; fake.
  • adjective pretending to be other than one is; putting on false appearances; insincere; hypocritical; -- of people.
  • noun something or someone that is phony.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Fraudulent; fake; having a misleading appearance.
  • noun A faker, a person who professes beliefs or opinions that they do not hold or assumes an identity other than their own.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives
  • adjective fraudulent; having a misleading appearance

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration of fawney, gilt brass ring used by swindlers, from Irish Gaelic fáinne, ring, from Old Irish.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps an alteration of fawney “gilt brass ring used by swindlers” (1781), from Ir. fáinne “ring.”

Examples

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