- a glittering metallic substance, as copper or brass, in thin sheets, used in pieces, strips, threads, etc., to produce a sparkling effect cheaply.
- a metallic yarn, usually wrapped around a core yarn of silk, rayon, or cotton, for weaving brocade or lamé.
- anything showy or attractive with little or no real worth; showy pretense: The actress was tired of the fantasy and tinsel of her life.
- Obsolete. a fabric, formerly in use, of silk or wool interwoven with threads of gold, silver, or, later, copper.
- consisting of or containing tinsel.
- showy; gaudy; tawdry.
- to adorn with tinsel.
- to adorn with anything glittering.
- to make showy or gaudy.
Origin of tinsel
Related Wordsgaudy, swank, splashy, flamboyant, extravagant, classy, garish, jaunty, conspicuous, glittery, ostentatious, ornate, pretentious, sensational, tacky, sleazy, vulgar, golden, painted, sparkling
Examples from the Web for tinsel
Hollywood sure hopes so, because the idea that disgruntled insiders could do this is terrifying to Tinsel Town.Pyongyang Shuffle: Hollywood In Dead Panic Over Sony Hack
December 19, 2014
Tinsel, garland, and chestnut shells are the only combustibles on offer.Twelve Unusual Christmas Reads
December 25, 2011
The 46-look collection consisted of drop-waist skirts, cellophane cocktail dresses, and translucent and tinsel fabrics.Marc Jacobs's Entire Spring / Summer 2012 Collection Stolen
November 16, 2011
After a few opening songs, we broke up into small groups and hung wreaths and garlands and tinsel (oh my).Jesus Made Me a Better Jew
December 24, 2008
Ratings for the tinsel town extravaganza tend to correlate with the popularity of the films nominated.The Oscar Recession
November 11, 2008
The crescent moon and the stars filtered down a tinsel light.The Cruise of the Dry Dock
T. S. Stribling
It is of the usual variety, covered with tinsel and adorned with glass balls.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
One may live in paint and tinsel, but one isn't absolutely without a soul.The Tragic Muse
Mineral Fibers: Asbestos, Tinsel, and other metallic fibers.Textiles
William H. Dooley
But I cared not at that moment, whether for mispayment or tinsel.In Convent Walls
Emily Sarah Holt
- a decoration consisting of a piece of string with thin strips of metal foil attached along its length
- a yarn or fabric interwoven with strands of glittering thread
- anything cheap, showy, and gaudy
- to decorate with or as if with tinselsnow tinsels the trees
- to give a gaudy appearance to
- made of or decorated with tinsel
- showily but cheaply attractive; gaudy
Word Origin and History for tinsel
mid-15c., "a kind of cloth made with interwoven gold or silver thread," from Middle French estincelle "spark, spangle" (see stencil). Meaning "very thin sheets or strips of shiny metal" is recorded from 1590s. Figurative sense of "anything showy with little real worth" is from 1650s, suggested from at least 1590s. First recorded use of Tinseltown for "Hollywood" is from 1972.