gim·​mick | \ ˈgi-mik How to pronounce gimmick (audio) \

Definition of gimmick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mechanical device for secretly and dishonestly controlling gambling apparatus
b : an ingenious or novel mechanical device : gadget
2a : an important feature that is not immediately apparent : catch … few readers would look for a gimmick in an advertisement featuring airline schedules, but few would fail to look for the fine print in an ad announcing New Low-Price Fares.— Robert L. Heilbroner
b : an ingenious and usually new scheme or angle Even in professional careers, mere competence and craftsmanship is no substitute for a gimmick.— James Poniewozik
c : a trick or device used to attract business or attention a marketing gimmick


gimmicked; gimmicking; gimmicks

Definition of gimmick (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to alter or influence by means of a gimmick
2 : to provide with a gimmick often used with up

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Other Words from gimmick


gimmicky \ ˈgi-​mi-​kē How to pronounce gimmick (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gimmick in a Sentence

Noun The proposal to cut taxes was just an election gimmick to win votes. that free magazine subscription they offer is just a sales gimmick to get you to buy their product
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This is a serious pizzeria that doesn’t need a gimmick to get attention. Chuck Blount,, "52 Weeks of Pizza: San Antonio’s best pizza, pizzerias and specialty pies," 27 Dec. 2020 The foghorn gimmick is a reach inside of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Ann Killion,, "49ers’ new home away from home proves to be anything but sweet," 7 Dec. 2020 Here, the chess is not a gimmick or an afterthought. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2020: Our favorite shows and binges in a year of living distantly," 26 Dec. 2020 There's no catch or gimmick, just an attempt to spread happiness, a company spokesperson wrote in an email. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Stumped on what to get this season? These subscriptions gifts offer perfect fix," 22 Dec. 2020 Writer-director John Davies builds his project on the rickety frame of a near-useless gimmick. Michael Phillips,, "‘Lincoln is Crying’ review: A blur of political sleaze, delivered by a glib documentary," 2 Dec. 2020 Last month, a House hearing on the same topic degenerated into an argument between Republicans, who claimed that social media was censoring the President, and Democrats, who argued that the hearing was a campaign gimmick. Glenn S. Gerstell, The New Yorker, "The National-Security Case for Fixing Social Media," 13 Nov. 2020 The best magic is not about a clever gimmick but telling a really good story. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Al Cohen, D.C. magic shop proprietor who knew all the tricks, dies at 94," 18 Dec. 2020 But James’s recognition of what Emre calls a literary gimmick doesn’t stop him from conferring a terminal illness upon one of the novel’s main characters, Milly Theale. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 30 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pat Brown gimmicked the accounting system to escape raising taxes again before Republican Ronald Reagan ousted him in 1966. Los Angeles Times, "Newsom has gotten top marks during the coronavirus crisis. Battling California’s deficit could change that," 11 May 2020

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

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First Known Use of gimmick


1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gimmick

Noun and Verb

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for gimmick

Time Traveler

The first known use of gimmick was in 1908

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Statistics for gimmick

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gimmick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for gimmick


How to pronounce gimmick (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gimmick

often disapproving : a method or trick that is used to get people's attention or to sell something


gim·​mick | \ ˈgi-mik How to pronounce gimmick (audio) \

Kids Definition of gimmick

: a method or trick used to get people's attention or to sell something

More from Merriam-Webster on gimmick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gimmick

Nglish: Translation of gimmick for Spanish Speakers

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