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From 1970s; possibly from dialectal English shonk (smart).


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shonky (comparative shonkier, superlative shonkiest)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, UK, informal) Of poor or dubious quality, shoddy, unreliable; deviously dishonest, fraudulent.
    • 1986, Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, ANZJS: The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Volume 22, page 475,
      The argument gets even shonkier when they claim that the boundary between clerical and administrative work is difficult to define anyway, and that routinisation and fragmentation have affected lower and middle management too (pp. 95–6).
    • 2000, Australian Senate, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), page 13548,
      The committee heard much evidence that this is a farce, yet this government have continued to try to pretend that their forecast, based on the shonkiest of assumptions—their model, with the shonkiest of assumptions—is really what is going to happen.
    • 2002, Markus Zusak, The Messenger, page 158,
      He might be a dole-bludger, a gambler and have the shonkiest tattoo in the world on his arm, but he'll agree to almost anything.
    • 2009, Bettina Arndt, The Sex Diaries, page 242,
      That′s why it is infuriating that there are still so many sharks out there who are determined to rip men off with shonky treatments that simply don′t work.
    • 2010, Stephen Gaunson, The Glenrowan Affair, Ben Goldsmith, Geoff Lealand (editors), Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand, page 98,
      Marred by shonky direction and factual errors, the film did nothing to enhance Kathner′s already poor reputation.


shonky (plural shonkies)

  1. (Australia) A dishonest person.
    • 1993, Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Commonwealth Arbitration Reports, Volume 3, page 577,
      It is clear from Mr Boyd's evidence that the Union is hoping as a result of its application to obtain an award provision which would control the practices of the "crooks and shonkies in the industry".
    • 2003, Australian House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): House of Representatives, Volume 257, page 19422,
      Mr BILLSON—and they are being called shonkies and all sorts of things by the Labor Party [] .
    • 2010, Barry McMillan, Chinaman's Lagoon, page 323,
      I could hear the tenants talking above me and they were laughing about how they had ripped of the public transport system. I made up my mind that as they were obvious shonkies, I wouldn't give any leeway and, if they didn't pay on the spot, I would disconnect supply.