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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.


[gaw-dee] /ˈgɔ di/
noun, plural gaudies. British
a festival or celebration, especially an annual college feast.
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin gaudium joy, delight Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gaudy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Fairly in the midst of them, quite as gaudy to look upon and every whit as reckless in their horsemanship, rode Dade and Jack.

    The Gringos B. M. Bower
  • Thankful held the gaudy ring at arm's length and stared at it helplessly.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Down the center of the street advanced a gaudy procession headed by a barbaric priestess.

  • Their painted faces and breasts and gaudy clothes were different from our Indians.

  • Their simplicity appears beggarly when compared with the quaint forms and gaudy coloring of such artists as Cowley and Gongora.

    Lays of Ancient Rome Thomas Babbington Macaulay
British Dictionary definitions for gaudy


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 gaudy

"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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