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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for garish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The garish cards themselves now smote him with a shrinking distaste.

    Satan Sanderson Hallie Erminie Rives
  • And it flourishes by gaslight; by day it is garish and forlorn.

  • He liked the gloomy interior, and he felt that a garish light would somehow be out of harmony.

    Masters of the Wheat-Lands Harold Bindloss
  • A section of the roof turned a garish yellow as Kennon circled the building.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • It was not the garish luxury and vulgar splendour of Bloomsbury Court—that had been the dancer's taste.

    When It Was Dark Guy Thorne
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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