trum·​pery | \ ˈtrəm-p(ə-)rē How to pronounce trumpery (audio) \

Definition of trumpery

1a : worthless nonsense
b : trivial or useless articles : junk a wagon loaded with household trumpery— Washington Irving
2 archaic : tawdry finery

Other Words from trumpery

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

claims for weight-loss products that are based much more on Madison-Avenue trumpery than on bariatric science
Recent Examples on the Web 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trumpery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of trumpery

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

History and Etymology for trumpery

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Trumpery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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