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[gair-ish, gar-] /ˈgɛər ɪʃ, ˈgær-/
crudely or tastelessly colorful, showy, or elaborate, as clothes or decoration.
excessively ornate or elaborate, as buildings or writings.
dressed in or ornamented with bright colors.
excessively bright; glaring.
Origin of garish
1535-45; earlier gaurish, perhaps equivalent to obsolete gaure to stare (Middle English gauren < Old Norse) + -ish1
Related forms
garishly, adverb
garishness, noun
1. loud, tawdry. See gaudy1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for garishly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bending forward, he glared into the garishly splotched face of his daughter and put his hand to his throat, struggling for speech.

    Our Square and the People in It Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • The world at large had a way of calling them painted women; but this day their faces were not painted nor were they garishly clad.

    Old Judge Priest Irvin S. Cobb
  • He took her arm and walked her into the garishly lighted bar-room, bracing himself militantly for what might happen.

  • We crossed the garishly bright road and went in silence through quiet streets.

  • He was bareheaded, and very beautifully, though not garishly clad.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • He didn't go into a garishly splendid place, named The Second Stop.

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • There appeared an elderly man, in a black frockcoat, loose-fitting and not too garishly new, a student's coat rather than a fop's.

    Bunker Bean Harry Leon Wilson
  • He had been walking beside a garishly liveried groom who was leading an enormous Holstein bull toward the judging enclosure.

    Lad: A Dog Albert Payson Terhune
  • We came back into the garishly lit main streets of Madrid and at last the bus halted.

    Poor Folk in Spain Jan Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for garishly


gay or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; gaudy
Derived Forms
garishly, adverb
garishness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from earlier gaure to stare + -ish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for garishly

1590s, from garish + -ly (2).



1540s, possibly from obsolete Middle English gawren "to stare" (c.1200), which is of uncertain origin (perhaps from Old Norse gaurr "rough fellow") + -ish. Related: Garishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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