See more synonyms for gimmick on
  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 for gimmick

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gimmick

Contemporary Examples of gimmick

Historical Examples of gimmick

  • If you can't find his gimmick in half a day, I'll come out and show it to you.

    The Great Gray Plague

    Raymond F. Jones

  • We have to remember that the gimmick in this whole business is a golden skull.

    The Golden Skull

    John Blaine

  • The "gimmick," as these American subjects put it, is "hot" and the turnover is fantastic.

    High Man

    Jay Clarke

  • And you think me incapable of keeping your secret, ah, gimmick, I believe is the idiomatic term you used.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • That gimmick's pretty much of a spilled secret now, but on p. 270 a swap for you and Lyad it was worth it.


    James H Schmitz

British Dictionary definitions for gimmick


  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 for gimmick

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 gimmick

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