Oxford Dictionary entry for cronyAccording to this source the word 'crony' is Cambridge university slang; Maybe is too geeky to call someone this way instead of a guy, fellow?

synonym: guy, fellow, bro etc.

My question:

Can I use this word instead of the words as 'GUY', 'FELLOW', 'PAL' etc?

  • 3
    That's not what the source says.
    – user3395
    Mar 25, 2017 at 15:13
  • Special for you @userr2684291 I inserted the picture. Please read the origin section. Thank you for your attention
    – Max
    Mar 25, 2017 at 15:35
  • 2
    @Max - (originally Cambridge university slang) merely gives some background. Nowhere does this source say that it is currently slang - so one would correctly infer that it is not slang today.
    – Davo
    Mar 25, 2017 at 16:05
  • 2
    There does not appear to be a clear question here. You should make clear the context in which you want to use "crony", and explain why the usage advice "Derogatory/informal" doesn't answer your question. The source indicates that it was university slang in the 17th century. It is now used informally.
    – James K
    Mar 25, 2017 at 16:17
  • 2
    Max, don’t put your question in the title of the question. People may not see it there. (Plus, it makes your title too long.) Also, @JamesK is right – when trying to figure out whether or not a word is okay to use, look at the usage cues in blue italics, not the etymological information in the origin.
    – J.R.
    Mar 25, 2017 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


Crony has changed its meaning over time: now its meaning is pretty sinister on both sides of the herring pond. I would advise against using it about a personal friend of yours.

The Cambridge Dictionary has this to say about it:

a friend, or a person who works for someone in authority, especially one who is willing to give and receive dishonest help

Meanwhile, if you look at Merriam-Webster, the definition seems quite innocuous:

a close friend especially of long standing

but look at the examples:

The mayor rewarded his cronies with high-paying jobs after he was elected.

the criminal's cronies were also closely questioned about the illegal gambling operation

  • I've just asked the same question on another source; The same answer I've got (from California)
    – Max
    Mar 25, 2017 at 17:38
  • 2
    The only way I have read this recently is as Crony capitalism. The meaning would be similar to your first example.
    – user3169
    Mar 26, 2017 at 0:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .