gau·dy | \ˈgȯ-dē, ˈgä-\
gaudier; gaudiest

Definition of gaudy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ostentatiously or tastelessly ornamented gaudy costumes

2 : marked by extravagance or sometimes tasteless showiness : outlandish gaudy lies gaudy claims also : exceptional a gaudy batting average


plural gaudies

Definition of gaudy (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feast or entertainment especially in the form of an annual college dinner at a British university

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Other Words from gaudy


gaudily \ˈgȯ-də-lē, ˈgä- \ adverb
gaudiness \ˈgȯ-dē-nəs, ˈgä- \ noun

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


The showgirls wore gaudy costumes. They bought the house for a gaudy sum.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Fair or not, Cleveland realistically needed a much gaudier stat line to have any shot in this Game 4. Scott Cacciola, Benjamin Hoffman And Marc Stein, New York Times, "Warriors, in Full Dynasty Mode, Sweep Cavaliers in N.B.A. Finals," 9 June 2018 There's no food truck with their logo on it, its Futura Bold sprayed on in gaudy red. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Welcome to the Social Media ‘Black Power Kitchen’ of Tomorrow," 29 May 2018 Despite his gaudy statistics, Herman wasn’t selected by the Pirates until the 30th round. Phil Anastasia,, "Eastern's Jack Herman to sign with Pittsburgh Pirates," 11 June 2018 Chamberlain was the freakish 7-footer with gaudy statistics and a reputation as a ladies' man off the court. Jerry Brewer,, "In a time of chaos, 1968 was a breakout year for black athletes," 28 May 2018 Chamberlain was the freakish 7-footer with gaudy statistics and a reputation as a ladies’ man off the court. Jerry Brewer, Washington Post, "In a time of chaos, a breakout year for black athletes," 28 May 2018 Nothing, however, seemed over-the-top to Toms, nothing overly bright or gaudy. David Usborne, Town & Country, "The Mysterious Case of the Parnham House Fire," 29 May 2018 To be sure, Trump’s redesign of Air Force One likely would be gaudy and embarrassing. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump is right to reject Air Force One nostalgia.," 12 July 2018 Washington’s McPherson Square on a lovely Saturday, where past and present met as filmmakers re-created the gaudy 1980s while the weird reality of 2018 hovered just out of frame. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "Fantasy and reality clash as movie makers film Wonder Woman in D.C.," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During the joint press conference with Raúl Castro, there wasn’t a gaudy row of 12 overlapping American and Cuban flags as a backdrop, as there was at the greeting with Kim at the Capella Hotel. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "The Trump-Rubio politics of hypocrisy: Cuba, no deal. North Korea? ‘Has great beaches.’," 12 June 2018 By all accounts, the concert itself was a gaudy, elaborate affair, with venue owner Bill Graham orchestrating a gargantuan white-tie Thanksgiving dinner for 5,000 attendees, while actual ballroom dancers waltzed throughout. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "'The Last Waltz' Soundtrack 40th Anniversary: 5 Noteworthy Performances From the Concert," 7 Apr. 2018 The elegant granite structure, whose architectural character Trump had promised to preserve, was now besmirched by a gaudy, faux-gold sign bearing his name. Nick Tabor, Daily Intelligencer, "501 Days in Swampland," 1 Apr. 2018 As a rookie, Matsuzaka went 15-12 with 201 strikeouts but a gaudy 4.40 ERA (108 ERA+), still good for 4.1 WAR. Jay Jaffe,, "Ranking the Best Rookie Seasons Among Japanese Players to Join MLB," 9 Dec. 2017 Kyrie Irving dropped 30 to lead the Celtics, and some of his play down the stretch was gaudy as well. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "Celtics on Bogdanovic's gaffe: 'Lucky for us, he didn't want any part of the ball'," 18 Dec. 2017 Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters are dressed in gaudy, poofy dresses that complement the obnoxiousness of their characters. Orange County Register, "Corona del Mar offers an enchanting ‘Into the Woods’," 7 Apr. 2017 Rip Taylor Only in Chuck Barris' twisted ecosystem could a gaudy, confetti-throwing Rip Taylor have flourished. Dave Holmes, Esquire, "6 Things We Wouldn't Have If Not For Chuck Barris," 22 Mar. 2017 To someone for whom Miami is the gaudy, palm-tree-and-Art-Deco opulence of South Beach, the poverty of the Liberty City neighborhood, and its Liberty Square public housing projects, would be jarring. Nikole Hannah-jones, New York Times, "From Bittersweet Childhoods to ‘Moonlight’," 4 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gaudy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gaudy


1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1651, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gaudy


gaud + -y entry 1


probably from Latin gaudium joy — more at joy

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Statistics for gaudy

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gaudy

The first known use of gaudy was in 1582

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More Definitions for gaudy



English Language Learners Definition of gaudy

: too bright and heavily decorated

: very large or impressive


\ˈgȯ-dē \
gaudier; gaudiest

Kids Definition of gaudy

: too bright and showy gaudy jewelry

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Comments on gaudy

What made you want to look up gaudy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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