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tawdry

[taw-dree] /ˈtɔ dri/
adjective, tawdrier, tawdriest.
1.
(of finery, trappings, etc.) gaudy; showy and cheap.
2.
low or mean; base:
tawdry motives.
noun
3.
cheap, gaudy apparel.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; short for (Sain)t Audrey lace, i.e., neck lace bought at St. Audrey's Fair in Ely, England; so called after St. Audrey (Old English Aethelthrȳth, died 679), Northumbrian queen and patron saint of Ely, who, according to tradition, died of a throat tumor which she considered just punishment of her youthful liking for neck laces
Related forms
tawdrily, adverb
tawdriness, noun
untawdry, adjective
Synonyms
1. flashy, meretricious.
Antonyms
1. elegant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tawdry
  • Some writers become obsessed with cheap and tawdry country-and-western songs, others with one special prelude or tone poem.
  • There's nothing tawdry about the bumps in the characters' lives, and regret darkens the souls of all involved.
  • Too bad they must be seen in such tawdry productions.
  • Lai knew that the professional golfer's tawdry episode was sure to grab headlines.
  • The indictment painted a tawdry picture of street-level cocaine sales, supplemented by occasional violence.
  • Granite, or marble, or bronze would seem ufc tawdry addition to those sublime altars of humanity.
British Dictionary definitions for tawdry

tawdry

/ˈtɔːdrɪ/
adjective -drier, -driest
1.
cheap, showy, and of poor quality: tawdry jewellery
Derived Forms
tawdrily, adverb
tawdriness, noun
Word Origin
C16 tawdry lace, shortened and altered from Seynt Audries lace, finery sold at the fair of St Audrey (Etheldrida), 7th-century queen of Northumbria and patron saint of Ely, Cambridgeshire
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 tawdry
adj.

"cheap, showy, gaudy," 1670s, adjective use of noun tawdry "silk necktie for women" (1610s), shortened from tawdry lace (1540s), an alteration of St. Audrey's lace, a necktie or ribbon sold at the annual fair at Ely on Oct. 17 commemorating St. Audrey (queen of Northumbria, died 679). Her association with cheap lace necklaces is that she supposedly died of a throat tumor, which she considered God's punishment for her youthful fondness for showy necklaces [Bede].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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