Definition of trumpery in English:



mass nounarchaic
  • 1Attractive articles of little value or use.

    ‘None of your woollen drapery, nor linen drapery, nor any of your frippery or trumpery. I hate ostentation’
    • ‘All along the extent of the corridor, in little alcoves, there are stalls of shops, kept principally by women, who, as you approach, are seen through the dusk offering for sale… multifarious trumpery.’
    • ‘The 2000 or so mercers included great merchants engaged in international trade and small traders selling trumpery objects from their shops.’
    trinkets, baubles, cheap finery, knick-knacks, ornaments, bibelots, gewgaws, gimcracks
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    1. 1.1 Practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth.
      ‘he exposed their ideals as trumpery’
      ‘theatrical trumpery’
      as modifier ‘that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves’
      • ‘You mean to tell me I gave the book up for nothing but trumpery?’
      • ‘Long ago ‘elegant’ was turned from a word denoting the essence of refinement and beauty, into gaudy trumpery.’
      • ‘In fact, it's even more important to bring a critical eye to bear on issues of such import, if only to avoid the kind of moral trumpery that goes on in these sorts of letters.’
      • ‘An assertion of absolute moral superiority in the form of black-shirted nuclear families - spiritual trumpery via breeding.’
      • ‘The weight and rhythms of Spanish expression transport me; its physicality, drama, and lack of trumpery I find breathtaking.’


  • 1Showy but worthless.

    ‘trumpery jewellery’
    • ‘A gipsy boy, with whom I was on friendly terms, used to travel about this part of the country selling trumpery brooches and ornaments.’
    • ‘Descriptions of the artist in his painting room ‘up to his ears in the trumpery he had been collecting for many a year’ include these panels, which he hoped ‘to use… in some way that may add to their value.’’
    showy, gaudy, garish, vulgar, tasteless
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    1. 1.1 Delusive or shallow.
      ‘that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves’
      • ‘We need not neglect all our work for a trumpery incident of this nature; though I am quite aware that little things please little minds.’
      • ‘Deploring the damage done by gulfs between creeds and cultures, he opens up a crevasse between the seemingly serious intent of his novel and the trumpery nature of its techniques.’


Late Middle English (denoting trickery): from Old French tromperie, from tromper ‘deceive’.