[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.

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

Synonyms for garish

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

Examples from the Web for garishly

Contemporary Examples of garishly

Historical Examples of garishly

  • He was bareheaded, and very beautifully, though not garishly clad.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • There appeared an elderly man, in a black frockcoat, loose-fitting and not too garishly new, a student's coat rather than a fop's.

    Bunker Bean

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The young miner followed his companion's gaze through the garishly lit crowd.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

  • The world at large had a way of calling them painted women; but this day their faces were not painted nor were they garishly clad.

    Old Judge Priest

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • We crossed the garishly bright road and went in silence through quiet streets.

British Dictionary definitions for garishly


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

Word Origin for garish

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 garishly

1590s, from garish + -ly (2).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper