[ taw-dree ]
/ ˈtɔ dri /

adjective, taw·dri·er, taw·dri·est.

(of finery, trappings, etc.) gaudy; showy and cheap.
low or mean; base: tawdry motives.


cheap, gaudy apparel.


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Origin of tawdry

1605–15; short for (Sain)t Audrey lace, i.e., neck lace bought at St. Audrey's Fair in Ely, England; so called after St. Audrey (Old English Aethelthrȳth, died 679), Northumbrian queen and patron saint of Ely, who, according to tradition, died of a throat tumor which she considered just punishment of her youthful liking for neck laces


taw·dri·ly, adverbtaw·dri·ness, nounun·taw·dry, adjective

Words nearby tawdry

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for tawdry

British Dictionary definitions for tawdry

/ (ˈtɔːdrɪ) /

adjective -drier or -driest

cheap, showy, and of poor qualitytawdry jewellery

Derived forms of tawdry

tawdrily, adverbtawdriness, noun

Word Origin for tawdry

C16 tawdry lace, shortened and altered from Seynt Audries lace, finery sold at the fair of St Audrey (Etheldrida), 7th-century queen of Northumbria and patron saint of Ely, Cambridgeshire
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