Definition of tinsel in US English:



  • 1A form of decoration consisting of thin strips of shiny metal foil.

    • ‘I think they'd prefer a splash of tinsel round the school instead.’
    • ‘Sadly, it's yet another case of Congressional false advertising - a lump of coal wrapped in shiny tinsel.’
    • ‘These were aluminum strips not unlike tinsel and were dropped from the aircraft to obscure the enemy's radar with ‘snow.’’
    • ‘The once bare evergreen branches are now adorned with silver tinsel and glittering ornaments.’
    • ‘A camel ambles past, decorated in tinsel and red trappings.’
    • ‘Another reader said hanging Christmas tinsel or aluminium foil strips in trees where fruit bats feed also works well.’
    • ‘What they don't realise is that tinsel and tawdry jokes take the joy out of the season of goodwill.’
    • ‘The students will also dress in fancy dress as well as dressing up the animals using Christmas decorations such as tinsel and lights.’
    • ‘There wasn't a single extra piece of tinsel, no baubles, no lights, no street entertainment at all.’
    • ‘A piece of green tinsel was twirled around her call-bell.’
    • ‘This is why tinsel is used to decorate Christmas trees.’
    • ‘We took balloons and tinsel to decorate the black netting sunshade under which we had a traditional feast of a huge chicken wrapped in foil and cooked on the beach barbecue all morning.’
    • ‘In one striking image, a porch is shown elaborately decorated for Christmas with tinsel, stockings, ornaments and toys.’
    • ‘They also wanted the airport to donate last year's tinsel and festive décor to local community groups.’
    • ‘I like a really old fashioned Christmas, where the decorations are larded with tinsel and as tacky as they can be.’
    • ‘Clad in silver foil and dripping with tinsel, glam-rockers were perfectly suited to the knees-up, mine's-a-double jollity of a proper Christmas party.’
    • ‘The gaudy tinsel and the 155,000 lights of 2004 have given way to a more natural look of Christmas trees decorated with white lilies and pink roses that are replaced as they wilt.’
    • ‘I am careful not to push loose the strand of tinsel Christmas decorations that I left strung across the room.’
    • ‘Oh, and this strip of tinsel is already beginning to irritate me.’
    • ‘At that time, it was unthinkable that anyone would believe that it was anything but real, especially after a decoration of tinsel and an assortment of differently shaped and coloured baubles.’
    spangle, glitter, metallic yarn
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    1. 1.1 Showy or superficial attractiveness or glamour.
      ‘his taste for the tinsel of the art world’
      • ‘With hardly any releases to speak of in the last couple of years, and no more than a single hit from her last five productions, it should be easy to dismiss her as just another ambitious woman in the glamorous tinsel world.’
      • ‘Meet Sudeep who is making it big in the Kannada tinsel world.’
      • ‘Mainstream tinsel world celebrities have left for Dubai by Emirates Airlines today to give special performances in Dubai on May 29 and then in London on May 31.’
      • ‘Despite his tinsel heroics, Jeremy wasn't able to overcome his fear and says he won't be doing it again any time soon.’
      • ‘He still continues to make style statements with his ensemble and not for nothing is he called the well-dressed man of Telugu tinsel ville.’
      • ‘The festival screened as many as 25 short and docufilms of exceptional quality, a visual delight to those who crave for realism in the highly commercialised tinsel world.’
      • ‘The presence of glamorous tinsel stars add more sheen to any function with frenzied crowd trying to have a glimpse of their favourite stars.’
      • ‘The presence of the legendary tinsel queens has been palpable from day one.’
      • ‘These cultural meets are also fast turning out to be platforms for bringing in tinsel stars, notwithstanding the fact that they have nothing to do with academics.’
      • ‘In fact, a seldom trumpeted trait about the Malayalam film industry has been its rendering a red carpet welcome to its tinsel townhood neighbours!’
      • ‘The tinsel celebrity, now the talk of the town, was flying to Coimbatore for a shoot and she stopped off to pick up her boarding pass.’
      • ‘Such is their distaste for tinsel distinctions that, throughout the devolved parliament's long, three-year history, they have only awarded themselves one medal.’
      • ‘As well as these tinsel tales, there are large numbers of records, still being slowly translated, which provide a complement to the operatic version of Persian history: the Persians in documentary.’
      • ‘So we could soon see star-struck youngsters learning their study materials directly from tinsel world heroes or heroines.’
      • ‘Even seasoned actors and producers find this an appropriate time to launch their sons in tinsel world.’
      • ‘Show business is not paved with gold for the creators of its tinsel towns.’
      • ‘But it's alternative; it's for people who think glamour is not tinsel.’
      • ‘At the end, she waved to the crowd with a tinsel glamour and sported a forced, yet innocent smile, revealing her missing tooth.’
      • ‘Like them he too had little difficulty entering the glitzy and glamorous tinsel world.’
      • ‘Where are we going to find precedents as an alternative to this tinsel culture.’
      ostentation, showiness, show, showing off, ostentatiousness, pretentiousness, pretension, vulgarity, conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, display, flamboyance, gaudiness, garishness, tawdriness, meretriciousness, brashness, loudness, extravagance, ornateness, theatricality
      ostentatious, pretentious, showy, conspicuous, obtrusive, flamboyant, gaudy, garish, tawdry, meretricious, trashy, brash, vulgar, loud, extravagant, fancy, ornate, affected, theatrical, overdone, over-elaborate
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Late Middle English (denoting fabric either interwoven with metallic thread or spangled): from Old French estincele ‘spark’, or estinceler ‘to sparkle’, based on Latin scintilla ‘a spark’.