gim·​crack | \ ˈjim-ˌkrak How to pronounce gimcrack (audio) \

Definition of gimcrack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a showy object of little use or value : gewgaw



Definition of gimcrack (Entry 2 of 2)

Other Words from gimcrack


gimcrackery \ ˈjim-​ˌkra-​k(ə-​)rē How to pronounce gimcrack (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

Gimcrack is one of many peculiar-sounding words that have pervaded our language to refer to something ornamental and of little value. Others include bauble, trinket, knickknack, gewgaw, kickshaw and tchotchke. Bauble appears to be the oldest among the group, with known evidence of usage dating back to the 14th century. The earliest available evidence of gewgaw and kickshaw is from the 16th century, whereas gimcrack and knickknack established themselves in the 17th century. Tchotchke, borrowed from Yiddish, is by far the most recent addition to our language, first appearing as an English word in the 20th century.

Examples of gimcrack in a Sentence

Noun a remarkable amount of money is spent on gimcracks and other unnecessary items each year that woman has enough gimcracks to fill up a novelty company's mail-order catalog Adjective a store plastered with “going out of business” signs and notorious for selling gimcrack merchandise
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The inevitable flood tide of gimcrack Biden souvenirs has yet to start in earnest, but there are some. New York Times, 6 Dec. 2020 So will the border continue to vanish in the face of nativist backlash and a trumpery, gimcrack wall? Felipe Fernández-armesto, WSJ, 25 June 2018 Science fiction on the screen had been pinched, gimcrack, borderline laughable. Mark Feeney,, 10 May 2018 The designer Vicki Mortimer has created a set that feels like a gimcrack warehouse, full of old ladders and lights and puppet-stage-like window frames. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gimcrack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gimcrack


1676, in the meaning defined above


1715, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gimcrack


origin unknown

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The first known use of gimcrack was in 1676

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Cite this Entry

“Gimcrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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