a wooden nutmeg

a wooden nutmeg

dated A fraudulent substitute or imitation. Primarily heard in US. Anyone selling you designer goods at such low prices is definitely peddling wooden nutmegs. The major tax overhaul congress has been promising is nothing more than a wooden nutmeg—it will benefit no one but a few at the very top, and for everyone else it will remain a convoluted and expensive mess.
See also: wooden

a wooden nutmeg

a false or fraudulent thing. US
A wooden nutmeg was a piece of wood shaped to resemble a nutmeg and fraudulently sold as the real thing. This deception was particularly associated with the inhabitants of Connecticut, giving rise to the nickname ‘the Nutmeg State’.
See also: wooden