1 [gaw-dee]
adjective, gaudier, gaudiest.
brilliantly or excessively showy: gaudy plumage.
cheaply showy in a tasteless way; flashy.
ostentatiously ornamented; garish.

1520–30; orig. attributive use of gaudy2; later taken as a derivative of gaud

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


2 [gaw-dee]
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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gaudy1 (ˈɡɔːdɪ)
adj , gaudier, gaudiest
gay, bright, or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; garish
[C16: from gaud]

gaudy2 (ˈɡɔːdɪ)
n , pl gaudies
(Brit) a celebratory festival or feast held at some schools and colleges
[C16: from Latin gaudium joy, from gaudēre to rejoice]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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