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[gaw-dee] /ˈgɔ di/
adjective, gaudier, gaudiest.
brilliantly or excessively showy:
gaudy plumage.
cheaply showy in a tasteless way; flashy.
ostentatiously ornamented; garish.
Origin of gaudy1
1520-30; orig. attributive use of gaudy2; later taken as a derivative of gaud
Related forms
gaudily, adverb
gaudiness, noun
ungaudily, adverb
ungaudiness, noun
2. tawdry, loud; conspicuous, obvious. Gaudy, flashy, garish, showy agree in the idea of conspicuousness and, often, bad taste. That which is gaudy challenges the eye, as by brilliant colors or evident cost, and is not in good taste: a gaudy hat. Flashy suggests insistent and vulgar display, in rather a sporty manner: a flashy necktie. Garish suggests a glaring brightness, or crude vividness of color, and too much ornamentation: garish decorations. Showy applies to that which is strikingly conspicuous, but not necessarily offensive to good taste: a garden of showy flowers; a showy dress.
2. modest, sober. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gaudiness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then there were splendid liveries, and all manner of gaudiness, not without some taste.

  • In thy apparel avoid singularity, profuseness, and gaudiness.

    Book of Wise Sayings W. A. Clouston
  • gaudiness, after all, defeats its own purpose, for it expresses a certain vulgarity.

    Book of Etiquette, Volume 2 Lillian Eichler Watson
  • He achieves effects in gaudiness which even time Italian officer cannot equal.

    Europe Revised Irvin S. Cobb
  • There was not a sign of gaudiness about her; not a ring, a necklace, or a bracelet.

  • Compared to his gaudiness of decking, the raiment of the others was mean and sober.

    The Portal of Dreams Charles Neville Buck
  • They sacrifice the plainness of nature to the gaudiness of ornament, and the tinsel of wit.

    Four Early Pamphlets William Godwin
  • Joseph caressed his nose, a nose which for gaudiness could vie with any floral display.

    The King in Yellow Robert W. Chambers
  • There were winters in Florida at sun-flooded resort towns full of gaudiness and gambling and surprising winter-resort people.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
British Dictionary definitions for gaudiness


adjective gaudier, gaudiest
gay, bright, or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; garish
Derived Forms
gaudily, adverb
gaudiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from gaud


noun (pl) gaudies
(Brit) a celebratory festival or feast held at some schools and colleges
Word Origin
C16: from Latin gaudium joy, from gaudēre to rejoice
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 gaudiness

c.1600, from gaudy + -ness.



"showy, tastelessly rich," 1580s, probably ultimately from Middle English gaudi "large, ornamental bead in a rosary" (early 14c.); but there is a parallel sense of gaudy as "full of trickery" (1520s), from Middle English gaud "deception, trick," from gaudi "a jest, trick," possibly from Anglo-French gaudir "be merry, scoff," from Latin gaudere "rejoice" (see joy).

Alternative etymology of the adjective is from Middle English gaudegrene "yellowish-green" (early 14c.), originally "green dye" obtained from a plant formerly known as weld, from a Germanic source (see weld (n.)), which became gaude in Old French. The English term supposedly shifted sense from "weld-dye" to "bright." As a noun, "feast, festival" 1650s, from gaudy day "day of rejoicing" (1560s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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