Word Origin & History
1520s, from M.E. gaud "deception, trick," also "ornamental bead, rosary" (c.1300), possibly from Anglo-Fr. gaudir "be merry, scoff," from L. gaudere "rejoice." Alternative (less likely) etymology is from M.E. gaudy-green "yellowish-green," originally "green dye" obtained from a plant formerly known
as weld, from a Gmc. source (see weld
(n.)), which became gaude in Old French. The English term supposedly shifted sense from "weld-dye" to "bright." Related: Gaudily; gaudiness.