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November 21, 2013

Word of the Day

  • trumpery
  • audio pronunciation
  • \TRUMP-uh-ree\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: worthless nonsense
2
: trivial or useless articles : junk
  • EXAMPLES

Moving to a new house has given me an excuse to toss out years of accumulated knickknacks and trumpery.

"But there's so much trumpery on parade, including a relentless air of self-importance, that it's even hard to simply enjoy the performances of the two stars, who give more than the film deserves." — From a review by Walter Addiego in the San Francisco Chronicle, September 6, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Trumpery" derives from the Middle English "trumpery" and ultimately from the Middle French "tromper," meaning "to deceive." (You can see the meaning of this root reflected in the French phrase "trompe-l'oeil"—literally, "deceives the eye"—which in English refers to a style of painting with photographically realistic detail.) "Trumpery" first appeared in English in the mid-15th century with the meanings "deceit or fraud" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "worthless nonsense." Less than 100 years later, it was being applied to material objects of little or no value. The verb phrase "trump up" means "to concoct with the intent to deceive," but there is most likely no etymological connection between this phrase and "trumpery."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "parol," our Word of the Day from October 20? The answer is …

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