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Trumpery for sale at a flea market in India.


Borrowed from French tromperie (deceit).



trumpery (plural trumperies)

  1. Worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk.
    • c. 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii], page 296, columns 1–2:
      I have ſold all my Tromperie: not a counterfeit Stone, not a Ribbon, Glaſſe, Pomander, Browch, Table-booke, Ballad, Knife, Tape, Gloue, Shooe-tye, Bracelet, Horne-Ring, to keepe my Pack from faſting: []
    • 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.
    • 1640, Richard Greenwey, The Annales of Cornelius Tacitus. The Description of Germanie, publ. by Richard Whitaker, 182.
      Agrippina after this, more mad and wilfull then ever, gave out threatning and thundring ſpeeches: yet not forbearing the Princes eares, but crying, that Britannicus was now growen to mans eſtate : a true and worthy plant to receive his fathers Empire, which a grafted ſon by adoption now poſſeſſed by the injury and trumpery of his mother.
    • 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!”