Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small, showy ornament of little value; a trinket.
  • noun A mock scepter carried by a court jester.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To trifle.
  • noun A child's plaything or toy.
  • noun A trifling piece of finery; that which is gay or showy without real value; a gewgaw.
  • noun A trifle; a thing of little or no value; a childish or foolish matter or affair.
  • Trifling; insignificant; contemptible.
  • Also spelled bawble.
  • noun Primarily, a sort of scepter or staff of office, the attribute of Folly personified, carried by the jesters of kings and great lords in the middle ages, and down to the seventeenth century.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A trifling piece of finery; a gewgaw; that which is gay and showy without real value; a cheap, showy plaything.
  • noun obsolete The fool's club.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cheap showy ornament piece of jewellery; a gewgaw.
  • noun A club or sceptre carried by a jester.
  • noun A small shiny spherical decoration, commonly put on Christmas trees.

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

  • noun a mock scepter carried by a court jester
  • noun cheap showy jewelry or ornament on clothing

Etymologies

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

[Middle English babel, from Old French, plaything.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French baubel ("trinket, child's toy"), most likely a reduplication of bel, ultimately from Latin bellus ("pretty").

Examples

  • The former was dressed in "a parti-colored dress, including a cowl, which ended in a cock's-head, and was winged with a couple of long ears; he, moreover, carried in his hand a stick called his bauble, terminating either in an inflated bladder or some other ludicrous object, to be employed in slapping inadvertent neighbors."

    Connor Magan's Luck and Other Stories

  • To Paul the bauble was a bit of the warm wonder that was she.

    The Fortunate Youth

  • For the great tassels still hung at the sides and – Well! you may call it an impossible find or say that if the bauble was there it should have been discovered in the first search for it!

    The Filigree Ball

  • To Paul the bauble was a bit of the warm wonder that was she.

    The Fortunate Youth

  • Logically, to refuse the bauble is the correct action.

    CommanderBond.net

  • Logically, to refuse the bauble is the correct action.

    CommanderBond.net

  • she said, noting that the bauble is a happy reminder of her thirteen-year marriage.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Sergeant-at-Arms elevated his mace -- that "bauble" of authority so distasteful to the Puritans -- and the Speaker began to swear in the members State by State.

    Perley's Reminiscences, v. 1-2 of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis

  • Cromwell at Marston Moor, and, resisting the Protector when he removed the "bauble," was one of the patriots incarcerated in "Hell hole."

    Kenelm Chillingly — Complete

  • Moor, and, resisting the Protector when he removed the "bauble," was one of the patriots incarcerated in "Hell hole."

    Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 03

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