an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.
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.
a hidden mechanical device by which a magician works a trick or a gambler controls a game of chance.
Electronics Informal. a capacitor formed by intertwining two insulated wires.

verb (used with object)

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)

to resort to gimmickry, especially habitually.

Nearby words

  1. gimlet,
  2. gimlet eye,
  3. gimmal,
  4. gimme,
  5. gimme cap,
  6. gimmickery,
  7. gimmickry,
  8. gimmicky,
  9. gimp,
  10. gimpy

Origin of gimmick

An Americanism dating back to 1925–30; origin uncertain

Related formsgim·mick·er, noungim·mick·y, adjectiveun·gim·mick·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gimmick

British Dictionary definitions for gimmick



something designed to attract extra attention, interest, or publicity
any clever device, gadget, or stratagem, esp one used to deceive
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