bogus vs phoney what difference

what is difference between bogus and phoney



First attested as an underworld term for counterfeit coins. Later, the word was applied to anything of poor quality. The newest use to mean useless is probably from the slang of computer hackers.

The origin is unknown, but there are at least two theories that try to trace its origin:

  • From Hausa boko (to fake). Since bogus first appeared in the United States, it may be possible that its ancestor was brought there on a slave ship.
  • From criminal slang as a short form of tantrabogus, a 19th-century slang term for a menacing object, making some believe that bogus might be linked to bogy or bogey (see bogeyman). In this sense, Bogus might be related to Bogle – a traditional trickster from the Scottish Borders, noted for achieving acts of household trickery; confusing, but not usually damaging.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbəʊ.ɡəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈboʊ.ɡəs/
  • Rhymes: -əʊɡəs


bogus (comparative more bogus, superlative most bogus)

  1. Counterfeit or fake; not genuine.
    Synonyms: phony; see also Thesaurus:fake
  2. Undesirable or harmful.
  3. (computing, slang) Incorrect, useless, or broken.
  4. (philately) Of a totally fictitious issue printed for collectors, often issued on behalf of a non-existent territory or country (not to be confused with forgery, which is an illegitimate copy of a genuine stamp).
    Synonym: illegal
  5. Based on false or misleading information or unjustified assumptions.

Derived terms



bogus (uncountable)

  1. (US, dialect) A liquor made of rum and molasses.

Related terms

  • calibogus



  • Rhymes: -əʊni


phoney (comparative phonier, superlative phoniest)

  1. (chiefly Britain) Alternative form of phony


phoney (plural phoneys or phonies)

  1. Alternative form of phony


phoney (third-person singular simple present phoneys, present participle phoneying, simple past and past participle phoneyed)

  1. Alternative form of phony

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