There’s a Word for That: Trumpery

atkins-bookshelf-wordsListen, trumpery is a really rich word. Really rich. That much I can tell you. Trumpery is both a noun and an adjective. The primary meaning of trumpery is worthless nonsense. Like many of the acrimonious barbs being exchanged during the current presidential campaign in America. Believe me. The secondary meaning of trumpery is a number of small household items or useless items; by extension it can be anything of little value, like stories, songs, movies, conversations… or stump speeches.

Trumpery as an adjective means something that is of little worth or quality; something that is fraudulent. Sort of like… you know where I am going with this.

Surprisingly, trumpery is not an eponym, nor is it a new word. I promise you. The word was introduced in the 14th century derived from the Middle French word tromperie, meaning “deceit or trickery,” derived from the verb tromper, meaning “to deceive.” These Middle French words, along with the Middle English word trumpen, are also the source of the secondary meaning of the verb trump — to fabricate or to deceive (the primary meaning of trump is to surpass, or to beat.) and the phrase trumped-up — fabricated, a dishonest fabrication, particularly to make someone appear guilty of a crime. That much I know.

Read related posts: There’s a Word for That: Esprit de l’escalier
There’s a Word for That: Jouissance
There’s a Word for That: Abibliophobia
There’s a Word for That: Petrichor
There’s a Word for That: Deipnosophist
There’s a Word for That: Pareidolia
There’s a Word for That: Macroverbumsciolist
There’s a Word for That: Ultracrepidarian
There’s a Word for That: Cacology

For further reading: The Grand Panjandrum by J. N. Hook (1991)

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