gim·mick | \ ˈgi-mik \

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 \ adjective

Examples of gimmick in a Sentence


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

The queenly allusions aren’t just a gimmick, the combs, which are made from zebu horn, a biodegradable material rich in keratin, are especially gentle on black hair. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Byredo’s New Keepsake Combs Pay Tribute to Africa’s Beloved Queens," 13 July 2018 Musk’s oddball sale of the flamethrowers started in January as a gimmick to help sell Boring Company hats. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Elon Musk's Flamethrowers Will Ship Soon—Fire Extinguisher Included," 18 May 2018 Some are gimmick weight loss tricks, and others are scientifically proven to be ineffective. USA TODAY, "The biggest exercise fad the year you were born," 12 July 2018 This gimmick would likely make Uber and its competitors increase fares, as well as restrict the number of drivers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Taxi Empire Strikes Back," 9 July 2018 Japan was an early leader of this movement, pushing e-waste recycling with tough laws and, more recently, appealing gimmicks. New York Times, "E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity," 5 July 2018 Having covered the sport on a daily basis, and now on a semi basis, the problem is the problem, and no amount of marketing or gimmick can change it: The sport is simply too expensive to grow on a grass roots level to enjoy large gains. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "NHL has a major event coming to town and you don't even know it," 21 June 2018 And will Kofi Kingston ever be looked at as more than someone who can deliver great spots in gimmick matches like the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank? Justin Barrasso,, "The Key Takeaways From WWE's Money in the Bank," 18 June 2018 There are 78 events on the 2018 schedule, which kicks off on May 29, and most of them come off as over-the-top gimmicks. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "2018 World Series of Poker about to get going with gimmicky slate of events," 21 May 2018

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


1911, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gimmick


origin unknown


see gimmick entry 1

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Learn More about gimmick

Dictionary Entries near gimmick

gimme cap







Statistics for gimmick

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gimmick

The first known use of gimmick was in 1911

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More Definitions for gimmick



English Language Learners Definition of gimmick

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


gim·mick | \ ˈgi-mik \

Kids Definition of gimmick

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

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Comments on gimmick

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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