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Trumpery (bric-a-brac) for sale at a flea market in León, Guanajuato, Mexico


Borrowed from French tromperie (deceit).



trumpery (plural trumperies)

  1. Worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk.
    • 1610, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, scene 1:
      PROSPERO.[To Ariel]
      This was well done, my bird.
      Thy shape invisible retain thou still:
      The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither
      For stale to catch these thieves.
  2. Nonsense.
    • 1698, Robert South, “The Lineal Descent of Jesus of Nazareth from David by his Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary. Proved in a Discourse on Rev. xxii. 16.”, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Subjects and Occasions, volume III, London: Printed by Tho[mas] Warren for Thomas Bennet, OCLC 272362693; republished as Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions, volume III, 6th edition, London: Printed by J. Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, at the Rose in Pater-noster Row, 1727, OCLC 85047152, page 287:
      Now upon the coming of Chriſt, very much, tho' not all, of this idolatrous Trumpery and Superſtition was driven out of the World: []
  3. (obsolete) Deceit; fraud.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Grenewey to this entry?)
    • 1859, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White:
      In that case there is no need for me to write about the trumpery scandal by which I was the sufferer—the innocent sufferer, I positively assert.



trumpery (not comparable)

  1. Gaudy but of no value.
    • 1872 February 3, A. R. Adams, “The Birmingham Law Students' Society”, in The Law Times: The Journal and Record of the Law and the Lawyers, volume LII, London: Published at the Office of the Law Times, Wellington Street, Strand, W.C., OCLC 5120680, pages 259–260:
      He earnestly exhorted them all to be earnest in their studies, and to think nothing beneath them. Let them not pass over any cases as unimportant; for they must remember that some of the greatest principles of the law had been enunciated out of the most apparently trumpery cases that had come before the judges.
    • 1954, Anthony Buckeridge, According to Jennings, London: William Collins, Sons, OCLC 255905255; republished London: Stratus Books, 2003, ISBN 978-0-7551-0165-8, page 136:
      “Of all the trumpery moonshine!” Mr Wilkins exploded. “What do you think you're playing at, Jennings!”