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[gair-ish, gar-] /ˈgɛər ɪʃ, ˈgær-/
crudely or tastelessly colorful, showy, or elaborate, as clothes or decoration.
excessively ornate or elaborate, as buildings or writings.
dressed in or ornamented with bright colors.
excessively bright; glaring.
Origin of garish
1535-45; earlier gaurish, perhaps equivalent to obsolete gaure to stare (Middle English gauren < Old Norse) + -ish1
Related forms
garishly, adverb
garishness, noun
1. loud, tawdry. See gaudy1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for garish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And it flourishes by gaslight; by day it is garish and forlorn.

  • A section of the roof turned a garish yellow as Kennon circled the building.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • The voices of the children and the birds are hushed this garish noon.

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • "It seems to be shrinking from the garish light of day," suggested Happie.

    Six Girls and Bob

    Marion Ames Taggart
  • Rich as he was, he owned no home except a garish mansion in New York.

    The Message Louis Tracy
British Dictionary definitions for garish


gay or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; gaudy
Derived Forms
garishly, adverb
garishness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from earlier gaure to stare + -ish
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 garish

1540s, possibly from obsolete Middle English gawren "to stare" (c.1200), which is of uncertain origin (perhaps from Old Norse gaurr "rough fellow") + -ish. Related: Garishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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