Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

gimcrack

[jim-krak]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a showy, useless trifle; gewgaw.
adjective
  1. showy but useless.

Origin of gimcrack

1325–75 for earlier sense; Middle English gib(e)crake; compare Middle English gibben to waver (< Old French giber to shake)

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. bauble, knickknack, trinket, ornament.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gimcrack

Historical Examples

  • I will buy her the necklace she scolded me about at Lacy and Gimcrack's; it's just the sum.

    The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 2, January, 1851

    Various

  • A nice set you must be to give your gimcrack craft such a name as that!

    Fitz the Filibuster

    George Manville Fenn

  • The Gothic souls find fault with it, and say it is gimcrack and tawdry and cheap.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence

  • As a rule, they are of a flimsy and gimcrack order of architecture.

    The Turkish Bath

    Robert Owen Allsop

  • He then thought of what a fool he had been to give her back that gimcrack pistol.

    The Peace of Roaring River

    George van Schaick


British Dictionary definitions for gimcrack

gimcrack

adjective
  1. cheap; shoddy
noun
  1. a cheap showy trifle or gadget
Derived Formsgimcrackery, noun

Word Origin

C18: changed from C14 gibecrake little ornament, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gimcrack

n.

1610s, "showy person;" sense of "trifle" first recorded 1839; of uncertain origin, perhaps alteration of gibecrake, a kind of ornament on wooden furniture (mid-14c.), perhaps from Old French giber "to rattle, shake" + Middle English crak "sharp noise, crack." In 18c.-19c. it also meant "a person who has a turn for mechanical contrivances."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper