- (of finery, trappings, etc.) gaudy; showy and cheap.
- low or mean; base: tawdry motives.
- cheap, gaudy apparel.
Origin of tawdry
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tawdry
The show has been accused of peddling the kind of tawdry sentiment that has driven the inhabitants of Detroit to distraction.The Art of Urban Destruction
March 6, 2014
So, why is it, then that are there so few movies lately that are not jaded, tawdry, humorlessly moralistic, or amorally violent?Whatever Happened to Great Holiday Films?
December 1, 2013
But using donors to enrich oneself is as an old and tawdry practice that is about getting rich, not famous.How Did Cory Booker Get Himself Into Such a Dumb Money Mess?
August 13, 2013
The tawdry details of the Clinton scandals differed, but the basic narrative was one to which Americans were becoming inured.Don’t Leave the Mayor’s Race Yet, Anthony Weiner
July 26, 2013
The only way to achieve this, she decides, is to live tawdrily, in a tawdry place.American Dreams, 1943: 'Two Serious Ladies' by Jane Bowles
May 30, 2013
The few ornaments were new, and not at all dusty or dingy or tawdry.
The town was tawdry in its preparations--and knew it; but half sincere in its enthusiasm--and knew it.
The effect of this was certainly incongruous, not to say tawdry.Aztec Land
Maturin M. Ballou
The fire was the really great adornment; all else was cheap, and some of it was tawdry.Wayside Courtships
The fire was the only adornment; all else was cheap, and some of it was tawdry.Other Main-Travelled Roads
- cheap, showy, and of poor qualitytawdry jewellery
Word Origin and History for tawdry
"cheap, showy, gaudy," 1670s, adjective use of noun tawdry "silk necktie for women" (1610s), shortened from tawdry lace (1540s), an alteration of St. Audrey's lace, a necktie or ribbon sold at the annual fair at Ely on Oct. 17 commemorating St. Audrey (queen of Northumbria, died 679). Her association with cheap lace necklaces is that she supposedly died of a throat tumor, which she considered God's punishment for her youthful fondness for showy necklaces [Bede].