- Historical a cloth of silk, wool, etc. interwoven with glittering threads of gold, silver, or other metal
- thin sheets, strips, or threads of tin, metal foil, etc., used for inexpensive decoration
- something that glitters like precious metal but has little worth; empty show; sham splendor
Origin of tinselaphetic from Middle French estincelle, a spark, spangle: see stencil
- made of or decorated with tinsel
- having sham splendor; showy; gaudy; tawdry
transitive verb-·seled or -·selled, -·sel·ing or -·sel·ling
- to make glitter with or as with tinsel
- to give a false appearance of splendor to
- Very thin sheets, strips, or threads of a glittering material used as a decoration.
- Something sparkling or showy but basically valueless: the tinsel of parties and promotional events.
- Made of or decorated with tinsel.
- Gaudy, showy, and basically valueless.
transitive verbtin·seled, tin·sel·ing, tin·sels, or tin·selled tin·sel·ling
- To decorate with or as if with tinsel: tinsel a Christmas tree.
- To give a false sparkle to.
Origin of tinselMiddle English tineseile from Old French estincelle spangle, spark ; see stencil .
- A shining material used for ornamental purposes; especially, a very thin, gauzelike cloth with much gold or silver woven into it; also, very thin metal overlaid with a thin coating of gold or silver, brass foil, or the like.
- Very thin strips of a glittering, metallic material used as a decoration, and traditionally, draped at Christmas time over streamers, paper chains and the branches of Christmas trees.
- Anything shining and gaudy; something superficially shining and showy, or having a false luster, and more gay than valuable.
(comparative more tinsel, superlative most tinsel)