adjective brum·ma·gem \ˈbrə-mi-jəm\

Definition of brummagem

  1. :  spurious; also :  cheaply showy :  tawdry a bilious combination of brummagem melodrama and synthetic seascapes — John McCarten



brummagem was our Word of the Day on 02/15/2011. Hear the podcast!

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 and Etymology of brummagem

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

First Known Use: 1688

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).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

Get Word of the Day daily email!