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 game plan: Find a creative gimmick, push it hard with teaser ads and what hopefully will become a viral social-media campaign, then stand back and hope hungry customers show up. Ben Tobin, USA TODAY, "IHOP, or if you prefer IHOb, joins Starbucks, KFC, others with 'spray and pray' stunt," 11 June 2018 Along with the pledge to visit every town is another campaign gimmick that Mr. Rhodes hopes will resonate in a district where the median household income is about $55,000. Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times, "Smelling Blood, Democrats Swarm New York House Race," 16 Apr. 2018 But unlike in past years when Republicans and Democrats railed against each other for using gimmicks to make budgets appear balanced, the spirit of compromise this year allowed lawmakers to see past the plan’s potential shortcomings., "Illinois lawmakers get closer to avoiding another long showdown as Senate advances budget," 31 May 2018 While the national television audience was making fun of the trash can the Volunteers used as a sideline turnover celebration gimmick, that same sideline got the last laugh. The Si Staff,, "The Best Meaningless Games of the 2017 College Football Season," 25 May 2018 Some found that idea to be forward thinking, while others derided it as a gimmick. NBC News, "Snapchat's focus on the future is becoming a present-day struggle," 3 May 2018 The deal would likely raise military spending by about $80 billion for two years and increase domestic spending in part by using budget gimmicks. Erik Wasson,, "Pressure Rises on Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling in Coming Weeks," 31 Jan. 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near gimmick

gimme cap







Statistics for gimmick

Last Updated

8 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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