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A close friend or companion. Recorded from the mid 17th century (originally as Cambridge university slang) the word comes from Greek khronios ‘long-lasting’ (here used to mean ‘contemporary’), from khronos ‘time’.

The word gained a high profile in the summer of 1998, when the Conservative leader William Hague used it in the House of Commons to describe what he saw as lobbyists with an undesirable influence as ‘Feather-bedding, pocket-lining, money-grabbing cronies.’

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