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Trumpery for sale at a flea market in India.


Borrowed from French tromperie (deceit).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈtɹʌmpəɹi/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: trump‧ery


trumpery (plural trumperies)

  1. Worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk.
    • c. 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Winters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [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: []
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
      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 upon Several Subjects and Occasions, 6th edition, volume III, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC:
      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 November 26 – 1860 August 25, [William] Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White. [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, [], published 1860, →OCLC:
      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 worthless.
    • 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, 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.
    • 1887, Charles Mackay, Through the Long Day: Or, Memorials of a Literary Life, page 113:
      I also remember the old Royal Mews that stood on the site of the present trumpery National Gallery, with its too suggestive pepper-boxes; []
    • 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!”