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gau·​dy ˈgȯ-dē How to pronounce gaudy (audio)
gaudier; gaudiest
: ostentatiously or tastelessly ornamented
gaudy costumes
: marked by extravagance or sometimes tasteless showiness : outlandish
gaudy lies
gaudy claims
also : exceptional
a gaudy batting average
gaudily adverb
gaudiness noun


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plural gaudies
: a feast or entertainment especially in the form of an annual college dinner at a British university
Choose the Right Synonym for gaudy

gaudy, tawdry, garish, flashy, meretricious mean vulgarly or cheaply showy.

gaudy implies a tasteless use of overly bright, often clashing colors or excessive ornamentation.

circus performers in gaudy costumes

tawdry applies to what is at once gaudy and cheap and sleazy.

tawdry saloons

garish describes what is distressingly or offensively bright.

garish neon signs

flashy implies an effect of brilliance quickly and easily seen to be shallow or vulgar.

a flashy nightclub act

meretricious stresses falsity and may describe a tawdry show that beckons with a false allure or promise.

a meretricious wasteland of casinos and bars

Examples of gaudy in a Sentence

Adjective The showgirls wore gaudy costumes. They bought the house for a gaudy sum.
Recent Examples on the Web
Those stats would have been even gaudier had McClymonds not waxed every league opponent en route to another section title in coach Michael Peters’ final season. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, 2 Jan. 2024 There’s the $200 million The Terraces, which is gaudy but breathtaking. Nick Remsen, Vogue, 16 Jan. 2024 And the hotel’s holiday flourishes are not gaudy, nor kitschy, Ms. Maier said. Sadiba Hasan, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2023 In front of bowl game host Rob Gronkowski, UCLA coach Chip Kelly appropriately crowned his quarterback on stage during the trophy presentation by placing a thick diamond chain with a gaudy LA Bowl pendant over Garbers’ head. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 18 Dec. 2023 There has always been the possibility in moving-picture narratives that our feeling ignored, downtrodden, and unknown in life can be relieved by gaudy monsters who trash the self-important world. Michelle Orange, Harper's Magazine, 12 Dec. 2023 As a writer, LaChiusa’s like a high-end old-money jeweler — precise, never gaudy, setting each song to catch the light just right — and Lincoln Center Theater has hired a top-flight cast. Vulture, 21 Nov. 2023 The set, which resembles a pop-up storybook on the bottom and a frenetic video game overhead, feels uneasy and overdone, with gaudy animation adding unnecessary spectacle (the scenic and projection design is by Paul Tate dePoo III). Naveen Kumar, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 The typical housewife’s wardrobe is packed with in-your-face labels, audacious colors, and gaudy jewelry. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 6 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gaudy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



gaud + -y entry 1


probably from Latin gaudium joy — more at joy

First Known Use


1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1651, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gaudy was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near gaudy

Cite this Entry

“Gaudy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


gaudier; gaudiest
: overly or tastelessly ornamented

More from Merriam-Webster on gaudy

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