trum·​pery ˈtrəm-p(ə-)rē How to pronounce trumpery (audio)
: worthless nonsense
: trivial or useless articles : junk
a wagon loaded with household trumperyWashington Irving
archaic : tawdry finery
trumpery adjective

Did you know?

Trumpery derives from the Middle English trompery and ultimately from the Middle French tromper, meaning "to deceive." (You can see the meaning of this root reflected in the French phrase trompe-l'oeil-literally, "deceives the eye"-which in English refers to a style of painting with photographically realistic detail.) Trumpery first appeared in English in the mid-15th century with the meanings "deceit or fraud" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "worthless nonsense." Less than 100 years later, it was being applied to material objects of little or no value. The verb phrase trump up means "to concoct with the intent to deceive," but there is most likely no etymological connection between this phrase and trumpery.

Examples of trumpery in a Sentence

a lot of the news pertaining to the war effort was loaded with so much trumpery that no one knew how it was really proceeding
Recent Examples on the Web What was the strategic benefit to the US of all this geopolitical trumpery? Peter Bergen, CNN, 28 May 2022 So will the border continue to vanish in the face of nativist backlash and a trumpery, gimcrack wall? Felipe Fernández-Armesto, WSJ, 25 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'trumpery.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English (Scots) trompery deceit, from Middle French, from tromper to deceive

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of trumpery was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near trumpery

Cite this Entry

“Trumpery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


trum·​pery ˈtrəm-p(ə-)rē How to pronounce trumpery (audio)
plural trumperies
: things of no value
trumpery adjective
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