[ taw-dree ]
See synonyms for: tawdrytawdrilytawdriness on Thesaurus.com

adjective,taw·dri·er, taw·dri·est.
  1. (of finery, trappings, etc.) gaudy; showy and cheap.

  2. low or mean; base: tawdry motives.

  1. cheap, gaudy apparel.

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

Other words for tawdry

Opposites for tawdry

Other words from tawdry

  • taw·dri·ly, adverb
  • taw·dri·ness, noun
  • un·taw·dry, adjective

Words Nearby tawdry

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use tawdry in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tawdry


/ (ˈtɔːdrɪ) /

adjective-drier or -driest
  1. cheap, showy, and of poor quality: tawdry jewellery

Origin of 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

Derived forms of tawdry

  • tawdrily, adverb
  • tawdriness, noun

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