Synonyms & Antonyms of meretricious

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About meretricious

How does the adjective meretricious contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of meretricious are flashy, garish, gaudy, and tawdry. While all these words mean "vulgarly or cheaply showy," meretricious stresses falsity and may describe a tawdry show that beckons with a false allure or promise.

a meretricious wasteland of casinos and bars

When is it sensible to use flashy instead of meretricious?

The words flashy and meretricious are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, flashy implies an effect of brilliance quickly and easily seen to be shallow or vulgar.

a flashy nightclub act

When could garish be used to replace meretricious?

While the synonyms garish and meretricious are close in meaning, garish describes what is distressingly or offensively bright.

garish neon signs

Where would gaudy be a reasonable alternative to meretricious?

The words gaudy and meretricious can be used in similar contexts, but gaudy implies a tasteless use of overly bright, often clashing colors or excessive ornamentation.

circus performers in gaudy costumes

When would tawdry be a good substitute for meretricious?

Although the words tawdry and meretricious have much in common, tawdry applies to what is at once gaudy and cheap and sleazy.

tawdry saloons

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about meretricious

Time Traveler for meretricious

Time Traveler

The first known use of meretricious was in 1626

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about meretricious

Cite this Entry

“Meretricious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on meretricious

Dictionary: Definition of meretricious

Comments on meretricious

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!