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Etymology 1[edit]

Coined between 1655 and 1665 from Ancient Greek χρόνιος (khrónios, perennial, long-lasting) (English chrono- (time),[1] initially as Cambridge University slang,[2][3][4][5] in sense of “chum”, as “friend of long standing”,[6] with illegal connotation later.[7]

Early spellings included chrony, as in 1665 diary by Samuel Pepys,[6] supporting the Greek origin.


crony (plural cronies)

  1. (informal, originally Cambridge University slang) Close friend.
    • Washington Irving
      He soon found his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time.
  2. (informal) Trusted companion or partner in a criminal organization.
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]
  1. ^ crony” in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.
  2. ^ "Crony" at
  3. ^ AskOxford: crony
  4. ^ Richard Reeves, NS Essay – “Friendship is the invisible thread running through society.” April 19, 2004
  5. ^ Cronyism: The New Sleaze.” BBC News. December 23, 1998
  6. 6.0 6.1 The I’s Have It”, William Safire, The New York Times. October 30, 2005
  7. ^ That Single Word.” Juan L. Mercado, The Ilocos Times, September 24, 2006

Etymology 2[edit]


crony (plural cronies)

  1. (obsolete) An old woman; a crone.
    • Burton
      Marry not an old crony.