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Old English trenket (a sort of knife), hence, probably, a toy knife worn as an ornament; probably from an Old French dialectal form of trenchier (to cut). Compare trench.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹɪŋkɪt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtɹɪŋkət/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋkɪt


trinket (plural trinkets)

  1. A small showy ornament or piece of jewelry
    That little trinket around her neck must have cost a bundle.
  2. A thing of little value; a trifle; a toy.
    It's only a little trinket, but it reminds her of him.
    • 1927-29, M.K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, translated 1940 by Mahadev Desai, Part I, Chapter xxiii:
      There is no art about the Eiffel Tower. In no way can it be said to have contributed to the real beauty of the Exhibition. Men flocked to see it and ascended it as it was a novelty and of unique dimensions. It was the toy of the Exhibition. So long as we are children we are attracted by toys, and the Tower was a good demonstration of the fact that we are all children attracted by trinkets. That may be claimed to be the purpose served by the Eiffel Tower.
  3. (nautical) A three-cornered sail formerly carried on a ship's foremast, probably on a lateen yard.
    • 1589, Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, [], London: [] George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, deputies to Christopher Barker, [], OCLC 753964576:
      Sayling alwayes with the sheates of mainesaile and trinket warily in our hands.
  4. (obsolete) A knife; a cutting tool.
    • 1557 February 13, Thomas Tusser, A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie., London: [] Richard Tottel, OCLC 1049068421; republished London: Reprinted for Robert Triphook, [], and William Sancho, [], 1810, OCLC 7109675:
      A coome is with line to fetch litter, and halters for hed : with crotchets and pins , to hang trinkets thereon




trinket (third-person singular simple present trinkets, present participle trinketing, simple past and past participle trinketed)

  1. (obsolete) To give trinkets; to court favour.
    • 1991, Stan Hoig, Jesse Chisholm, Ambassador of the Plains:
      On June 26 the party of sun and wind - weathered visitors from the heart of the Texas plains , dressed in their blankets and buckskins , befeathered and trinketed , arrived at the capital city's Globe Hotel and took up residence there






  1. second-person plural subjunctive I of trinken