AskDefine | Define gimmick

Dictionary Definition



1 something whose name is either forgotten or not known [syn: dohickey, dojigger, doodad, doohickey, hickey, gizmo, gismo, gubbins, thingamabob, thingumabob, thingmabob, thingamajig, thingumajig, thingmajig, thingummy]
2 any clever (deceptive) maneuver; "he would stoop to any device to win a point" [syn: device, twist]

User Contributed Dictionary





  • a UK /ˈgɪm.ɪk/, /"gIm.Ik/


  1. A trick or device used to reach some end.
    The box had a gimmick to make the coin appear to vanish.
  2. A clever ploy or strategy.
    The contest was a gimmick to get people to sign up for their mailing list.

Derived terms


trick or a device
clever ploy or strategy


  1. To rig or set up with a trick or device.
    The magician's box was gimmicked with a wire that made it appear to open on its own.
To rig or set up with a trick or device

Extensive Definition

In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something "stand out" from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.
In marketing, product gimmicks are sometimes considered mere novelties, and not really that relevant to the product's functioning, sometimes even earning negative connotations. However, some seemingly trivial gimmicks of the past have evolved into useful, permanent features. According to the OED, the word is first attested in 1926, defined in the Wise-Crack Dictionary by Main and Grant as "a device used for making a fair game crooked". The word Gimmick came from Australia.
Finding a successful gimmick for an otherwise mundane product is often an important part of the marketing process. For example, toothbrushes are often given various gimmicks, such as bright colors, easy-grip handles, or color-changing bristles so they appear more exciting to consumers. This is often done when trying to appeal to children or excitable adults, who often get more excited about the gimmick than the product.
Major product features which are poorly designed become known as gimmicks to the product users. Plastic devices often suffer from weak structural components or fragile construction, leading to deforming and cracking of the over-strained and poorly engineered mechanisms. This leaves the owner with the basic functions of the item and the gimmick disabled or, in the case of very cheaply produced products, the gimmick broken completely off of the main body of the item.
An entire product can be known as a gimmick if it is especially poorly made and the product is sold without warranty, return, or exchange options, or where the cost to ship the broken product back would be higher than the cost of the product.
gimmick in German: Gimmick

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

action, ad hoc measure, affair, anagnorisis, angle, answer, apparatus, architectonics, architecture, argument, art, artful dodge, article, artifact, artifice, atmosphere, background, bag of tricks, blind, bluff, bosey, catastrophe, catch, characterization, cheat, chicanery, chouse, color, complication, concern, conspiracy, continuity, contraption, contrivance, counterfeit, countermove, coup, course of action, craft, curve, curve-ball, cute trick, deceit, deception, demarche, denouement, design, development, device, dingus, dirty deal, dirty trick, dodge, dofunny, dohickey, dojigger, dojiggy, domajig, domajigger, doodad, dowhacky, effort, episode, eppes, etwas, expedient, fable, fake, fakement, falling action, fast deal, feint, fetch, ficelle, flumadiddle, fun, gadget, gambit, game, gigamaree, gimcrack, gizmo, googly, grift, hand tool, hickey, hocus-pocus, hook, hootenanny, hootmalalie, humbug, implement, imposture, improvisation, incident, instrument, intrigue, invention, jest, jigger, joker, juggle, jugglery, jury-rig, jury-rigged expedient, knavery, last expedient, last resort, last shift, line, little game, local color, makeshift, maneuver, material thing, means, measure, mechanical device, method, mood, motif, move, movement, mythos, object, pass, peripeteia, pis aller, plan, plot, ploy, power tool, precision tool, quelque chose, racket, recognition, red herring, resort, resource, rising action, ruse, scheme, scurvy trick, secondary plot, shake-up, shift, slant, sleight, sleight of hand, sleight-of-hand trick, snare, solution, something, speed tool, sport, step, stopgap, story, stratagem, strategy, stroke, stroke of policy, structure, subject, subplot, subterfuge, switch, tactic, temporary expedient, thematic development, theme, thing, thingum, thingumabob, thingumadad, thingumadoodle, thingumajig, thingumajigger, thingumaree, thingummy, tone, tool, topic, trap, trick, trickery, trump, twist, utensil, whatchy, widget, wile, wily device, working hypothesis, working proposition
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