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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gimmick


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

Even the casting was a gimmick, given that Crowe’s anger problem is at least as notorious as Ailes’. But there’s nothing cheap about the show. Judy Berman, Time, "The Loudest Voice Shows Us What We Already Knew. That’s Not Redundant—It’s Exactly What We Need," 27 June 2019 Further Reading Review: Amazon’s Fire Phone offers new gimmicks, old platform growing pains As an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), Boost Mobile doesn't own its own network. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Amazon cell service? Company reportedly interested in buying Boost Mobile," 31 May 2019 Toronto played no gimmick defenses, but did enough to stifle the rest of the Warriors. Jeff Faraudo, The Mercury News, "Steph plenty strong, but no other strength found in these numbers," 6 June 2019 The Def Squad member's latest track is expectedly bare-bones, opting for straightforward lyricism and old-school beats instead of flashy gimmicks. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Redman Drops Preservative-Free New Track & Video 'I Love Hip Hop': Watch," 22 June 2018 But Ho is careful to note that the focus on wellness shouldn’t be downplayed as a trend or marketing gimmick. Christina Pérez, Vogue, "The New Cannabis Companies Want to Give You a “Wellness Experience”," 20 Apr. 2019 Laser Ops Pro, meanwhile, implies a fleet of functionally identical, functionally perfect laser beam blasters with some gimmicks peppered in for flavor. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Nerf's Laser Tag Guns Are Cool, But They Lose What Makes Nerf Great," 17 July 2018 This was a show that reset its protagonist’s consciousness every few episodes, one that seemed more interested in structural gimmicks than in creating a story or characters worth getting invested in. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Westworld season 2 takes cues from The Walking Dead — and it kinda, sorta works," 18 Apr. 2018 But Due Process delivers on destructible levels, weird level-specific gimmicks (lights that can be disabled, armored windows), and satisfying military-grade weaponry. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Noun and Verb

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gimmick

Dictionary Entries near gimmick

gimme cap







Statistics for gimmick

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gimmick

The first known use of gimmick was in 1911

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gimmick



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gimmick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gimmick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gimmick

Spanish Central: Translation of gimmick

Nglish: Translation of gimmick for Spanish Speakers

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).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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