It was all worn off now: cheap as Coney Island, tawdry, tarnished as the last year's trappings of a circus, bedraggled, shabby as a harlot's painted face at noon.
-- Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and The River
She knew it was a tawdry, a squalid freedom, tawdry as the pink geraniums and squalid as the awful and inevitable bridge and poker parties.
-- D.H. Lawrence, The First Lady Chatterly
Tawdry was originally short for (Sain)t Audrey lace, which was a kind of neck lace bought at St. Audrey's Fair in Ely, England named after St. Audrey, 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.