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It bothers me more than it probably should that dictionaries give the derivation “phoney” as “unknown”. To me it seems manifestly a funny spelling of “funny”.. Rhymes with “honey”. Rhyming it with “bony” is not wrong, just continuing the disguise. (Much as the old word for rabbit, “coney” was pronounced to rhyme with “bony” in polite company. And “coney” is the obvious source of “bunny” as in rabbit, also, sigh, unrecognized by dictionaries. But I digress.)

“Funny” has its orgin in criminal slang and has never really lost that connotation. We talk of “funny money” and a “funny smell”. Not quite right. Woodie Guthrie sang: “as through this world I wander, I meet lots of funny men/Some will rob you with a six gun and some with fountain pen”. And so on.

To “pull someone’s leg” has its origins not even in fraud but in outright street robbery. It refers to a thieve’s trick of bringing someone down by catching their foot in a kind of low kick and “pulling” it out from under them. But in fairness to the average comedian I doubt many have the necessary martial arts skills for this.

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