Meaning of shonky in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʃɒŋki/

adjectiveadjective shonkier, adjective shonkiest

informal Australian, New Zealand
  • Dishonest, unreliable, or illegal, especially in a devious way.

    • ‘shonky political goings-on’
    • ‘I am really surprised that a New Zealand political party should advocate shonky protectionism against our trading partners.’
    • ‘Building workers have uncovered shonky immigration scams involving the employment and exploitation of illegal immigrants in the industry.’
    • ‘As I say, it is constitutionally very shonky and very dodgy.’
    • ‘Rather than concentrating on shonky design, the legislation puts in place an inspection regime.’
    • ‘Well it's not a new technology or some great discount deal for satellite Net access or shonky scam.’
    • ‘The flat came part-furnished - and part-finished too - sloping walls and ceilings, shonky partition walls thrown up.’
    • ‘I've been twice and had shonky service, terrible food and eye-watering bills.’
    • ‘First and foremost, does this guy have some shonky connections?’
    • ‘So why is there nothing protecting us from people who deal with shonky affairs of the mind?’
    deceitful, underhanded, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, unethical, unprincipled, immoral, unscrupulous, fraudulent, cheating, dubious, dirty, unfair, treacherous, duplicitous, double-dealing, below the belt, two-timing, two-faced, Janus-faced, unsporting, unsportsmanlike


(also shonk)
informal Australian, New Zealand
  • A person engaged in suspect business activities.

    • ‘we need to rid the building industry of these shonkies quickly’
    • ‘Fortunately most of them are gone, the shonks have gone out of the industry and it's basically left to the farmers and the people doing the right thing to get the products out there.’
    • ‘There's a powerful message to middle class shonkies that it's not only street crime that may merit prison.’
    • ‘These shonks, often fly-by-night backyard operators, take full advantage of recent arrivals and just don't comply with minimum Award standards.’
    • ‘I am very concerned that this spate of accidents will continue unless state and local Government and the public at large report and police the shonks who are putting peoples lives at risk.’
    • ‘‘The practice is not only leaving workers out of pocket, it is penalising companies that do make proper provision for entitlements and have to compete with the shonks,’ he says.’
    • ‘The philosophy behind it is to drive shonks out of local government, particularly in an environment were the contracting out of services is increasing.’
    • ‘These people do not want to be seen as being mixed up with shonks.’


1970s perhaps from English dialect shonk ‘smart’.