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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
  • gaudy dyes were used for bright and vivid coloring making the pictures seem somewhat non-lifelike.
  • But Miami is always there: gaudy, gleaming, and glad of it.
  • The gaudy saga goes on far too long, the strain of sustaining a riotous tone sets in and the comedy runs thin.
  • Each year it churns out hundreds of wild and gaudy spectacles.
  • Occasionally the gaudy glitter was exchanged for black dresses or for the designer's magic cobwebs of knitting.
  • Tooth and nail fighting on some of the most gaudy stuff.
  • The floats were as gaudy as ever, and the revellers were better behaved.
  • The entire pack did not go careening over some hillside like lemmings in gaudy costumes.
  • His numbers weren't exactly gaudy.
  • Not that he exactly reveled in this gaudy weekend affair.
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
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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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