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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

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

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

  • noun worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk
  • noun nonsense
  • adjective gaudy but of no value

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

  • noun ornamental objects of no great value
  • noun nonsensical talk or writing


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

[Middle English trompery, deceit, from Old French tromperie, from tromper, to deceive.]


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

    Aleta Dey 1919

  • 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 superversive 2006

  • 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 2004

  • 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 1917

  • 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 L. T. Meade 1884

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

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas 1873

  • 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 Thomas Frognall Dibdin 1811

  • 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 Mrs. Inchbald 1787

  • 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.

    History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Henry Fielding 1730

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

    Style Walter Alexander Raleigh 1891


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  • ...Embryo's and Idiots, Eremits and Friers

    White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie.

    Milton, Paradise Lost III

    December 20, 2006

  • I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.

    Goldsmith, She Stoops, I

    January 8, 2007

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • "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