Definitions

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

  • n. A cheap and showy object of little or no use; a gewgaw.
  • adj. Cheap and tasteless; gaudy: "The shelves groan with an array of gimcrack gifts from fans: a stuffed piranha fish ... a ceramic ... bull, a papier-mâché replica of an Apollo moonwalker” ( Harry F. Waters).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Showy but of poor quality; worthless.
  • n. Something showy but worthless; a gimmick or bauble.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A trivial mechanism; a device.
  • n. A toy; a pretty thing; an ornamental object of no great value.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A spruce or pert boy.
  • n. A showy, unsubstantial thing; a pretty or fanciful thing; a toy; a gewgaw.
  • Showy but trivial; fanciful or trumpery.
  • Also spelled jimcrack.

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

  • adj. tastelessly showy
  • n. ornamental objects of no great value

Etymologies

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

Possibly alteration of Middle English gibecrake, small ornament.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown

Examples

  • December 5th, 2007 at 4:33 am oh my…. he’s a very angry man isn’t he? hospitals like the gimcrack are the last places many people live before ending up in a funeral home. all our staff have very black senses of humour. it’s a prerequisite for the job.

    An odd encounter at the funeral home « knitnut.net

  • If you find any, let us know and we'll document them through the day, with some kind of gimcrack rating.

    Search Engine Optimization and Marketing News provided by Cumbrowski.com

  • Every time a shingle is added to the gimcrack, ramshackle governance structure that we're propping up, another door falls off its hinges.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Too many of the other buildings around the lagoon had long since slipped and slid away below the silt, revealing their gimcrack origins, and the Ritz now stood in splendid isolation on the west shore, even the rich blue moulds sprouting from the carpets in the dark corridors adding to its 19th-century dignity.

    Ballardian » Simon O’Carrigan’s The Drowned World

  • Don Black's gimcrack lyrics range from the instantly forgettable to the indelibly horrific: "Well, who would have thought that a waitress from Rowena / Would have had the balls to bust me out my old .45 / And who would have thought that a farm boy from Teleco / Would outsmart the smartest lawmen and walk out of here alive?"

    Wheel This Barrow Out of Town

  • The people who donate 100 bucks so they can get the gimcrack with the PBS station logo on it will still be watching

    Matthew Yglesias » Rich Bankers and Inequality

  • Niall Ferguson, no Europhile, recently wrote in these pages: "The real choice is between becoming a fully fledged United States of Europe … and a gimcrack hodgepodge … that will sooner or later fall apart."

    In Defense of Europe

  • The real choice is between becoming a fully fledged United States of Europe, or remaining little more than a modern-day Holy Roman Empire, a gimcrack hodgepodge of "variable geometry" that will sooner or later fall apart.

    The End of the Euro

  • I'm not sure that I'd go so far as to relegate the Wii to the realm of the gimcrack, but nor am I convinced that Nintendo has managed to absolve the console of such charges as fully as it might.

    Are You So Over It?

  • But Mr. Baudelaire, like so many artists today, has fashioned his work to illustrate a gimcrack theory.

    The Banality of Fake Profundity

Comments

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  • A good up-to-date example sentence at the very end of this article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/237645/page/3

    May 9, 2010

  • (n): A tastelessly showy thing; a trivial device or object in the sense of being cheap, tacky, flashy, garish, gaudy.

    cf. gewgaw and bauble

    December 30, 2008