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adjective, tack·i·er, tack·i·est.
  1. sticky to the touch; adhesive.

Origin of tacky1

First recorded in 1780–90; tack1 + -y1
Related formstack·i·ness, noun


adjective, tack·i·er, tack·i·est.
  1. not tasteful or fashionable; dowdy.
  2. shabby in appearance; shoddy: a tacky, jerry-built housing development.
  3. crass; cheaply vulgar; tasteless; crude.
  4. gaudy; flashy; showy.

Origin of tacky2

1880–85, Americanism; apparently identical with earlier tack(e)y small horse, pony, poor farmer; of obscure origin
Related formstack·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tackiness

Historical Examples

  • Is it any wonder then that tackiness was found to develop when the rubber was dry?

    The Preparation of Plantation Rubber

    Sidney Morgan

  • Naturally, tackiness developed in some of the rubber, and care was then taken to keep the windows closed.

  • The presence of the copper in brass is responsible for a gradual disintegration of the rubber, commonly recognised as “tackiness.”

  • Compounds have been put upon the market which assumedly claim to be cures for tackiness.

  • But in many cases even the higher grades of rubber show signs of tackiness.

British Dictionary definitions for tackiness



adjective tackier or tackiest
  1. slightly sticky or adhesivethe varnish was still tacky
Derived Formstackily, adverbtackiness, noun

Word Origin

C18: from tack 1 (in the sense: stickiness)


adjective tackier or tackiest informal
  1. shabby or shoddy
  2. ostentatious and vulgar
  3. US (of a person) dowdy; seedy
Derived Formstackiness, noun

Word Origin

C19: from dialect tacky an inferior horse, of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for tackiness



"sticky," 1788, from tack (n.1) in the sense of "an act of attaching temporarily" + -y (2).



"in poor taste," 1862, adj. use of tackey (n.) "small or inferior horse" (1800), later "hillbilly, cracker" (1888), of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper