Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Showy but worthless finery; bric-a-brac.
  • n. Nonsense; rubbish.
  • n. Deception; trickery; fraud.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk
  • n. nonsense
  • adj. gaudy but of no value

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Deceit; fraud.
  • n. Something serving to deceive by false show or pretense; falsehood; deceit; worthless but showy matter; hence, things worn out and of no value; rubbish.
  • adj. Worthless or deceptive in character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Deceit; fraud.
  • n. A showy thing of no intrinsic value; something intended to deceive by false show; worthless finery.
  • n. Useless stuff; rubbish; trash.
  • n. Nonsense; false or idle talk; foolishness.
  • Showy, but useless or unsubstantial; hence, trifling; worthless: as, trumpery ornaments.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. ornamental objects of no great value
  • n. nonsensical talk or writing

Etymologies

Middle English trompery, deceit, from Old French tromperie, from tromper, to deceive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • "What trumpery is this?" he inquired, superciliously, noticing it almost immediately, and grasping the significance of it as promptly.

    Aleta Dey

  • Now, when a story is recited, that is, when it is treated as a dramatic performance, this kind of trumpery is permissible, if ill-advised.

    Death carries a camcorder

  • In the country, indeed, one is obliged to take up with all kind of trumpery; but in town I visit none but the women of women of quality.

    The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

  • In the country, indeed, one is obliged to take up with all kind of trumpery; but in town I visit none but the women of quality.

    VIII. Containing Scenes of Altercation, of No Very Uncommon Kind. Book VII

  • The dinner which followed this unhappy beginning of the evening was as dismal and constrained as if poor "trumpery" were still present.

    A Young Mutineer

  • I wonder ---- But I suppose Floyd will save the rest of his 'trumpery' for her!

    Floyd Grandon's Honor

  • To describe all the trumpery which is immediately around it, in the original, would be a waste of time; but below are two good figures to the right, and two wretched ones to the left.

    A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume One

  • Henry had a contempt for all finery, and had called even his aunt's jewels, when they were first shown to him, "trumpery," asking "what they were good for?"

    Nature and Art

  • "trumpery," and so supplement the idea of worthlessness with that other idea, equally grateful to the author, of deceit.

    Style

  • Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity. waterloo honey

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: April 9, 2010

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Not a single female was present but found some means of expressing her abhorrence of poor Jenny, who bore all very patiently, except the malice of one woman, who reflected upon her person, and tossing up her nose, said, 'The man must have a good stomach who would give silk gowns for such sort of trumpery!'"
    - Henry Fielding, 'The History of Tom Jones'.

    September 8, 2009

  • From OED:
    2. ‘Something of less value than it seems’; hence, ‘something of no value; trifles’ (J.); worthless stuff, trash, rubbish. (Usually collective sing.; also, now rarely, pl.)
    a. Applied to material objects
    b. Applied to abstract things, as beliefs, practices, discourse, writing, etc.: Nonsense, ‘rubbish’.
    c. Applied contemptuously to religious practices, ceremonies, ornaments, etc. regarded as idle or superstitious. (Cf. TRINKET n.1 3.) Now rare or merged in general sense.
    d. Showy but unsubstantial apparel; worthless finery.
    f. Applied to a person, esp. a woman: cf. TRASH n.1

    Hence trumperiness.

    June 8, 2009

  • To stop dilapidations till we get there, said he, we may renew our term by a little breakfast from my wallet. When I am on a journey I am always my own caterer. None of your woollen drapery, nor linen drapery, nor any of your frippery or trumpery.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 2 ch. 6

    September 13, 2008

  • "If only there were a good-humored girl among these trumpery queans... but they seem a hard-faced set entirely..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, Treason's Harbour, 78

    February 15, 2008

  • November 9, 2007

  • I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.
    Goldsmith, She Stoops, I

    January 8, 2007

  • ...Embryo's and Idiots, Eremits and Friers
    White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie.

    Milton, Paradise Lost III

    December 20, 2006