Tawdry Taw"dry, a. [Compar. {Tawdrier}; superl. {Tawdriest}.] [Said to be corrupted from Saint Audrey, or Auldrey, meaning Saint Ethelreda, implying therefore, originally, bought at the fair of St. Audrey, where laces and gay toys of all sorts were sold. This fair was held in Isle Ely, and probably at other places, on the day of the saint, which was the 17th of October.] 1. Bought at the festival of St. Audrey. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

And gird in your waist, For more fineness, with a tawdry lace. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

2. Very fine and showy in colors, without taste or elegance; having an excess of showy ornaments without grace; cheap and gaudy; as, a tawdry dress; tawdry feathers; tawdry colors. [1913 Webster]

He rails from morning to night at essenced fops and tawdry courtiers. --Spectator. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • tawdry — cheap, showy, gaudy, 1670s, adjective use of noun tawdry silk necktie for women (1610s), shortened from tawdry lace (1540s), an alteration of St. Audrey s lace, a necktie or ribbon sold at the annual fair at Ely on Oct. 17 commemorating St.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • tawdry — ► ADJECTIVE (tawdrier, tawdriest) 1) showy but cheap and of poor quality. 2) sordid; sleazy. DERIVATIVES tawdriness noun. ORIGIN short for tawdry lace, a fine silk lace or ribbon, contraction of St Audrey s lace: Audrey was the patron saint of… …   English terms dictionary

  • Tawdry — Taw dry, n.; pl. {Tawdries}. A necklace of a rural fashion, bought at St. Audrey s fair; hence, a necklace in general. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Of which the Naiads and the blue Nereids make Them tawdries for their necks. Drayton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tawdry — I adjective baroque, bedizened, blatant, brummagem, catchpenny, cheap, common, crass, crude, flashy, garish, gaudy, glaring, glittering, inelegant, loud, meretricious, ostentatious, pretentious, shoddy, showy, sleazy, tasteless, tinsel, vulgar II …   Law dictionary

  • tawdry — *gaudy, garish, flashy, meretricious Analogous words: *showy, pretentious: vulgar, gross, *coarse: flamboyant, *ornate, florid …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • tawdry — [adj] cheap, tasteless blatant, brazen, chintzy*, common, crude, dirty, flaring, flashy, flaunting, garish, gaudy, gimcrack, glaring, glittering, glitzy, jazzy, junky*, loud, meretricious, obtrusive, offensive, plastic, poor, raffish, screaming,… …   New thesaurus

  • tawdry — [tô′drē] adj. tawdrier, tawdriest [by syllabic merging of St. Audrey, esp. in St. Audrey laces, women s neckpieces sold at St. Audrey s fair in Norwich, England] cheap and showy; gaudy; sleazy tawdriness n …   English World dictionary

  • tawdry — [[t]tɔ͟ːdri[/t]] tawdrier, tawdriest 1) ADJ GRADED If you describe something such as clothes or decorations as tawdry, you mean that they are cheap and show a lack of taste. ...tawdry jewellery. Syn: tacky 2) ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n If you describe …   English dictionary

  • tawdry — adjective (tawdrier, tawdriest) 1》 showy but cheap and of poor quality. 2》 sordid; sleazy. noun archaic cheap and gaudy finery. Derivatives tawdrily adverb tawdriness noun Word History Tawdry is short for tawdry lace, a …   English new terms dictionary

  • tawdry — taw|dry [ˈto:dri US ˈto: ] adj [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: tawdry lace necklace (16 18 centuries), from St. Audrey s lace, from St. Audrey 7th century queen of Northumbria, England; because it was originally sold at fairs in honor of St. Audrey]… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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