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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gimcrack


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

Did You Know?


Gimcrack is only 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 usage dating back to the 14th century. Gewgaw and kickshaw first appeared in the 16th century, whereas gimcrack and knickknack established themselves in the 17th century. Tchotchke, borrowed from the Yiddish, is by far the most recent addition to our language, only first appearing as an English word in the 1970s.

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
See More
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, "After Centuries of Obscurity, Wilmington Is Having a Moment," 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, "‘Vanishing Frontiers’ Review: The Ties That Bind," 25 June 2018 Science fiction on the screen had been pinched, gimcrack, borderline laughable. Mark Feeney,, "‘2001’ is a space odyssey, but 2018 is a Kubrick moment," 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, "with the headline: Summertime, and the Revivals are Breezy.," 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.

See More

First Known Use of gimcrack


1676, in the meaning defined above


1715, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gimcrack


origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gimcrack

Time Traveler for gimcrack

Time Traveler

The first known use of gimcrack was in 1676

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about gimcrack

Statistics for gimcrack

Cite this Entry

“Gimcrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on gimcrack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gimcrack

Comments on gimcrack

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!