[ jim-krak ]
/ ˈdʒɪmˌkræk /


a showy, useless trifle; gewgaw.


showy but useless.

Nearby words

  1. gilthead,
  2. gilyak,
  3. gimbal,
  4. gimbals,
  5. gimbel,
  6. gimcrackery,
  7. gimel,
  8. gimlet,
  9. gimlet eye,
  10. gimmal

Origin of gimcrack

1325–75 for earlier sense; Middle English gib(e)crake; compare Middle English gibben to waver (< Old French giber to shake) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gimcrack

British Dictionary definitions for gimcrack


/ (ˈdʒɪmˌkræk) /


cheap; shoddy


a cheap showy trifle or gadget
Derived Formsgimcrackery, noun

Word Origin for gimcrack

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



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