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[gaw-dee] /ˈgɔ di/
adjective, gaudier, gaudiest.
brilliantly or excessively showy:
gaudy plumage.
cheaply showy in a tasteless way; flashy.
ostentatiously ornamented; garish.
Origin of gaudy1
1520-30; orig. attributive use of gaudy2; later taken as a derivative of gaud
Related forms
gaudily, adverb
gaudiness, noun
ungaudily, adverb
ungaudiness, noun
2. tawdry, loud; conspicuous, obvious. Gaudy, flashy, garish, showy agree in the idea of conspicuousness and, often, bad taste. That which is gaudy challenges the eye, as by brilliant colors or evident cost, and is not in good taste: a gaudy hat. Flashy suggests insistent and vulgar display, in rather a sporty manner: a flashy necktie. Garish suggests a glaring brightness, or crude vividness of color, and too much ornamentation: garish decorations. Showy applies to that which is strikingly conspicuous, but not necessarily offensive to good taste: a garden of showy flowers; a showy dress.
2. modest, sober. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gaudily
Historical Examples
  • "Excuse-a me," repeated the stranger, who was gaudily dressed in many colors.

    Frank Merriwell Down South Burt L. Standish
  • They were made entirely of birch bark, and gaudily painted on the bow and stern.

    Hudson Bay R.M. Ballantyne
  • The carriage sat high up on its two great wheels, and was gaudily painted and gaily decked with flowers and ribbons.

    Our Little Dutch Cousin Blanche McManus
  • They frequently trimmed it with hare-skins and painted it gaudily.

  • Merritt and Andy had selected a few inexpensive, gaudily decorated gourds and strings of beads for their boy friends.

  • Some of the allied armies were as gaudily, if not so richly, accoutered as their adversary.

    A Prince of Anahuac James A. Porter
  • The little room was gaudily decorated and redolent with the lingering odors of many dinners.

    The Hillman E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • The chairs of state were then filled with gaudily dressed officials.

    The Story of Malta Maturin M. Ballou
  • She was dressed as gaudily as an actress of the Varietes going to a supper at Trois Freres.

    The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray
  • A fleet of gaudily emblazoned native boats shot hither and thither over the near surface of the bay.

    The Story of Malta Maturin M. Ballou
British Dictionary definitions for gaudily


adjective gaudier, gaudiest
gay, bright, or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; garish
Derived Forms
gaudily, adverb
gaudiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from gaud


noun (pl) gaudies
(Brit) a celebratory festival or feast held at some schools and colleges
Word Origin
C16: from Latin gaudium joy, from gaudēre to rejoice
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 gaudily

1610s, from gaudy + -ly (2).



"showy, tastelessly rich," 1580s, probably ultimately from Middle English gaudi "large, ornamental bead in a rosary" (early 14c.); but there is a parallel sense of gaudy as "full of trickery" (1520s), from Middle English gaud "deception, trick," from gaudi "a jest, trick," possibly from Anglo-French gaudir "be merry, scoff," from Latin gaudere "rejoice" (see joy).

Alternative etymology of the adjective is from Middle English gaudegrene "yellowish-green" (early 14c.), originally "green dye" obtained from a plant formerly known as weld, from a Germanic source (see weld (n.)), which became gaude in Old French. The English term supposedly shifted sense from "weld-dye" to "bright." As a noun, "feast, festival" 1650s, from gaudy day "day of rejoicing" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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