Simple Definition of tawdry
: having a cheap and ugly appearance
: morally low or bad
Examples of tawdry in a sentence
The scandal was a tawdry affair.
Did You Know?
In the 7th century, Etheldreda, the queen of Northumbria, renounced her husband and her royal position for the veil of a nun. She was renowned for her saintliness and is traditionally said to have died of a swelling in her throat, which she took as a judgment upon her fondness for wearing necklaces in her youth. Her shrine became a principal site of pilgrimage in England. An annual fair was held in her honor on October 17th, and her name became simplified to St. Audrey. At these fairs various kinds of cheap knickknacks were sold, along with a type of necklace called St. Audrey's lace, which by the 17th century had become altered to tawdry lace. Eventually, tawdry came to be used to describe anything cheap and gaudy that might be found at these fairs or anywhere else.
Origin and Etymology of tawdry
tawdry lace a tie of lace for the neck, from St. Audrey (St. Etheldreda) †679 queen of Northumbria
First Known Use: 1655
Synonym Discussion of tawdry
Definition of tawdry
: cheap showy finery
First Known Use of tawdry
Seen and Heard
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