Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

brummagem

play
adjective brum·ma·gem \ˈbrə-mi-jəm\

Definition of brummagem

  1. :  spurious; also :  cheaply showy :  tawdry

brummagem noun


Did You Know?

Brummagem first appeared in the 17th century as an alteration of "Birmingham," the name of a city in England. At that time Birmingham was notorious for the counterfeit coins made there, and the word brummagem quickly became associated with things forged or inauthentic. By the 19th century, Birmingham had become a chief manufacturer of cheap trinkets and gilt jewelry, and again the word brummagem followed suit - it came to describe that which is showy on the outside but essentially of low quality. Perhaps the term was something of an annoyance to the people of Birmingham way back when, but nowadays "brummagem" is usually used without any conscious reference to the British city.

Origin of brummagem

alteration of Birmingham, England, the source in the 17th century of counterfeit groats


First Known Use: 1637


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up brummagem? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the Celtic May Day festival

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

maudlin oily prompt angry
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ