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

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 The gimmick is both an aesthetic and an economic judgment. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, "Our Love-Hate Relationship with Gimmicks," 9 Nov. 2020 The action was the latest gimmick by the protest movement to maintain public interest in their cause. NBC News, "Police use water cannons on protesters trying to deliver letters about Thailand's King," 8 Nov. 2020 The gimmick: a lineup of plastic packaging in different shapes and sizes, such as pears and hourglasses, evoking women’s body types. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "If everybody hates wokewashing, why do companies still do it?," 22 Oct. 2020 The 'flight to nowhere' gimmick is succeeding in attracting die-hard fliers. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "‘Flights to nowhere’ are popular. Experts explain the psychology behind the COVID-era concept," 11 Oct. 2020 The project’s first editor in chief, Jermaine Affonso, called together a group to come up with a better name for the advertising gimmick. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "ClickHole Started as a Meat Joke. Can It Avoid Being Offal?," 22 Oct. 2020 While the push for thinness in the mid-2010s was a pointless gimmick, for foldables, thinness is a major factor for portability. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Surface Duo review—Orphaned Windows hardware makes a poor Android device," 16 Oct. 2020 Which makes outside experts even more skeptical that 99.9 percent is anything more than a public relations gimmick to bolster the case for ending the count early, coronavirus or not. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Two Huge Questions Loom as 2020 Census Winds Down," 12 Oct. 2020 And the unique approach appears to be more than a gimmick. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Algae in skis? Salt Lake company believes its technology could change the snow-sports industry," 8 Oct. 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.

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

Time Traveler for gimmick

Time Traveler

The first known use of gimmick was in 1911

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gimmick

Last Updated

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gimmick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!