parlor trick

variants: US parlor trick, or British parlour trick
plural parlor tricks or parlour tricks

Definition of parlor trick

: a usually simple trick or demonstration that is used especially to entertain or amuse guests … this book … includes classic parlor tricks such as piercing a balloon with a needle without popping it, and yanking a tablecloth out from under bottles and plates.— Dolly Setton sometimes used figurativelyTheir game is an illusion, a political parlor trick: Hold down funding for key priorities, such as K-12 education, or universities, and then when revenues create a surplus, call it an "overpayment" by taxpayers.— Mike OwenMethods of reporting change, and with the fierce competition of the Internet age, many reporters have resorted to ambush journalism or other parlor tricks.— David Yas

First Known Use of parlor trick

1855, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of parlor trick was in 1855

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Cite this Entry

“Parlor trick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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