• synonyms


[gair-ish, gar-]
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  1. crudely or tastelessly colorful, showy, or elaborate, as clothes or decoration.
  2. excessively ornate or elaborate, as buildings or writings.
  3. dressed in or ornamented with bright colors.
  4. excessively bright; glaring.
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Origin of garish

1535–45; earlier gaurish, perhaps equivalent to obsolete gaure to stare (Middle English gauren < Old Norse) + -ish1
Related formsgar·ish·ly, adverbgar·ish·ness, noun


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1. loud, tawdry. See gaudy1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for garish

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And it flourishes by gaslight; by day it is garish and forlorn.

  • A section of the roof turned a garish yellow as Kennon circled the building.

    The Lani People

    J. F. Bone

  • The voices of the children and the birds are hushed this garish noon.


    Fanny Fern

  • "It seems to be shrinking from the garish light of day," suggested Happie.

    Six Girls and Bob

    Marion Ames Taggart

  • Rich as he was, he owned no home except a garish mansion in New York.

    The Message

    Louis Tracy

British Dictionary definitions for garish


  1. gay or colourful in a crude or vulgar manner; gaudy
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Derived Formsgarishly, adverbgarishness, 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

Word Origin and History for garish


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper