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tacky1

[tak-ee]
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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

tacky2

[tak-ee]
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

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British Dictionary definitions for tacky

tacky1

tackey

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)

tacky2

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 tacky

adj.1

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

adj.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