- a glittering metallic substance, as copper or brass, in thin sheets, used in pieces, strips, threads, etc., to produce a sparkling effect cheaply.
- a metallic yarn, usually wrapped around a core yarn of silk, rayon, or cotton, for weaving brocade or lamé.
- anything showy or attractive with little or no real worth; showy pretense: The actress was tired of the fantasy and tinsel of her life.
- Obsolete. a fabric, formerly in use, of silk or wool interwoven with threads of gold, silver, or, later, copper.
- consisting of or containing tinsel.
- showy; gaudy; tawdry.
verb (used with object), tin·seled, tin·sel·ing or (especially British) tin·selled, tin·sel·ling.
- to adorn with tinsel.
- to adorn with anything glittering.
- to make showy or gaudy.
- a decoration consisting of a piece of string with thin strips of metal foil attached along its length
- a yarn or fabric interwoven with strands of glittering thread
- anything cheap, showy, and gaudy
verb -sels, -selling or -selled or US -sels, -seling or -seled (tr)
- to decorate with or as if with tinselsnow tinsels the trees
- to give a gaudy appearance to
- made of or decorated with tinsel
- showily but cheaply attractive; gaudy
n.mid-15c., “a kind of cloth made with interwoven gold or silver thread,” from Middle French estincelle “spark, spangle” (see stencil). Meaning “very thin sheets or strips of shiny metal” is recorded from 1590s. Figurative sense of “anything showy with little real worth” is from 1650s, suggested from at least 1590s. First recorded use of Tinseltown for “Hollywood” is from 1972.