adjective (tawdrier, tawdriest)
1》 showy but cheap and of poor quality.
2》 sordid; sleazy.
noun archaic cheap and gaudy finery.
tawdrily adverb
tawdriness noun
Word History
Tawdry is short for tawdry lace, a kind of fine silk lace or ribbon worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. The word is a contraction of Saint Audrey's lace, named after the patron saint of Ely, who is said to have died of a tumour of the neck, which she considered to be retribution for her liking for necklaces in her youth. ‘Tawdry laces’ were sold at the fairs held every year in her memory. Much of the merchandise would have been of low quality, a fact which gave rise to the modern negative associations of the word tawdry.

English new terms dictionary. 2014.

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  • 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 — 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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