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Podcast trumpery

Printable Version
Pronunciation: trump-êr-ee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: 1. (Obsolete) Deception, fraud, or trickery. 2. Rubbish, junk. 3. Flashy but trashy finery in the home or on the body.

Notes: Using the plural of today's word, trumperies, is a dubious move. Although some dictionaries list a plural for trumpery, the sense of the noun inclines it toward the status of mass noun.

In Play: Since there is some confusion as to whether a private junk sale is a garage sale, a tag sale, or a yard sale, why not settle this issue with today's Good Word: "We have cleaned out the attic, basement, and garage and this weekend we are holding a big trumpery sale." It will be the talk of the town. Do you know someone who overdresses in cheap clothing, gaudy jewelry and accessories? "Maud Lynn Dresser came to the party in such trumpery we all had a good laugh."

Word History: The original meaning of this word, "deception", is now a bit dated and less frequently used but it explains how the word got into English. It was originally French tromper "to cheat, swindle, deceive". Once it entered English, though, as you can see, its meaning eventually dwindled to "nonsense". The similarity of this word to the verb trumpet explains its gravitation toward the sense of "trashy finery". Trumpery is unrelated to the trumping that goes on in many card games; that trump is an old mispronunciation of triumph! (Today's Good Word was suggested by long-time friend of alphaDictionary, Marilyn MacMillan, who avoids trumpery of any kind but can appreciate the word for it.)

Dr. Goodword,

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