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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 garishness
Historical Examples
  • He despised all garishness and affectation, and was usually full of his theme.

    Fifty Notable Years John G. Adams
  • "The insolence of wealth and the garishness of its marts are disappearing," I told her.

    A Top-Floor Idyl

    George van Schaick
  • Piano colors of a violence and garishness are hurled against each other.

    Musical Portraits Paul Rosenfeld
  • Think of a lot of over-dressed creatures flouting those severe outlines and deep-toned distances with frippery and garishness.

  • The castle had as yet yielded to him nothing that he had not seen before in the distraction of company and the garishness of day.

  • She had behind her garishness a gift for sympathy and a keen intuition, delicacy, and allusiveness.

    The Weavers, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • A bright light not only chases the shade from its aisles and recesses but also shows up the garishness of its glass.

    A Wanderer in Paris

    E. V. Lucas
  • The sequins lose their garishness; the painted faces preserve an illusion of reality.

    Carnival Compton Mackenzie
British Dictionary definitions for garishness


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 garishness



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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