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gimmick

[gim-ik]
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noun
  1. an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.
  2. a concealed, usually devious aspect or feature of something, as a plan or deal: An offer that good must have a gimmick in it somewhere.
  3. a hidden mechanical device by which a magician works a trick or a gambler controls a game of chance.
  4. Electronics Informal. a capacitor formed by intertwining two insulated wires.
verb (used with object)
  1. to equip or embellish with unnecessary features, especially in order to increase salability, acceptance, etc. (often followed by up): to gimmick up a sports car with chrome and racing stripes.
verb (used without object)
  1. to resort to gimmickry, especially habitually.

Origin of gimmick

An Americanism dating back to 1925–30; origin uncertain
Related formsgim·mick·er, noungim·mick·y, adjectiveun·gim·mick·y, adjective

Synonyms

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1. stunt, plan, ruse, ploy; angle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gimmicky

gimmick

noun
  1. something designed to attract extra attention, interest, or publicity
  2. any clever device, gadget, or stratagem, esp one used to deceive
  3. mainly US a device or trick of legerdemain that enables a magician to deceive the audience
Derived Formsgimmickry, noungimmicky, adjective

Word Origin

C20: originally US slang, 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 gimmicky

adj.

1948, from gimmick + -y (2).

gimmick

n.

1926 (in Maine & Grant's "Wise-Crack Dictionary," which defines it as "a device used for making a fair game crooked"), American English, perhaps an alteration of gimcrack, or an anagram of magic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper