Meaning of TINSEL in English

I. ˈtin(t)səl sometimes -nzəl adjective

Etymology: earlier tinselle, from Middle French etincellé, estencellé, past participle of etinceller, estenceler to ornament with sparkling colors, to sparkle, from etincelle, estencele spark


a. : interwoven with or overlaid with gold, silver, or metallic thread

b. : made of or covered with tinsel

2. : cheaply glittering or gaudy : showily pretentious : specious , tawdry

wanders through its massive moldering architecture and tinsel gaieties — Cecil Sprigge

surrounded by the tinsel splendor of his parties — J.W.Aldridge

a world … with shoddy emotions and tinsel values — Max Lerner

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle French etincelle, estincelle, estencele spark, glitter, spangle — more at stencil


a. : a silk or silk and wool fabric formerly interwoven or overlaid with glittering metallic threads or strips usually of gold, silver, or copper

b. : lamé


a. : a thread, strip, or sheet of metal, paper, or plastic used to produce a glittering and sparkling appearance in fabrics, yarns, Christmas decorations, or advertising materials

b. : a yarn of various fibers covered or combined with a thread of tinsel and used for knitting, weaving, or embroidering

3. : something superficially showy, attractive, or glamorous that actually has little real worth

those austere spirits who … had scorned the fumes and tinsel of the loud world — L.P.Smith

the tinsel and power of high office did not appeal — J.C.Fitzpatrick

a superglamorous baggage of tinsel — … a major movie star — Nolan Miller

4. : deep stone

III. transitive verb

( tinseled or tinselled ; tinseled or tinselled ; tinseling or tinselling ; tinsels )

1. : to interweave, overlay, or adorn with or as if with tinsel

can produce tinseled or velvet surfaces by flocking — Publisher's Weekly

dew tinseled the leaves — Truman Capote

a gaudy tinseled dragonfly — Haldane Macfall

2. : to impart to or cover with a meretricious brightness or appearance

enraptured by all the tinseled glamour — Arthur Knight

her tinseled picture of high life … thrilled the drab Victorian maiden — Robert Halsband

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: tinsel (II) ; from the delicate filament or flimmer

: a flagellum (as on the zoospores of some phycomycetes) having a central axis from which extend short lateral hairs — compare flimmer , whiplash

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.