Definition of tawdry in English:


Line breaks: taw¦dry
Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːdri

adjective (tawdrier, tawdriest)

1Showy but cheap and of poor quality: tawdry jewellery
More example sentences
  • Beside them, lines of impoverished street vendors squat on dirty rush mats, displaying their tawdry collections of cheap plastic keyrings and fake Rolex watches.
  • They were once looked down upon as the tawdry poor relations of the fashion industry.
  • Then I distributed the cheap and tawdry things in a convincing fashion all over the house.
1.1Sordid or unpleasant: the tawdry business of politics
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  • The silky relationship between art and fashion may seem charming but is often a tawdry, corrupting, even whorish affair.
  • That, I told myself, is only the stuff you read about in cheap, tawdry romance novels (which I happen to write).
  • This may evade privacy restrictions but is cheap and tawdry at best.


[mass noun] archaic Back to top  
Cheap and gaudy finery.
More example sentences
  • I had seen him in procession with his golden crook, preceded by the priests of his diocese, dressed up in all the tawdry of their canonicals.


early 17th century: short for tawdry lace, a fine silk lace or ribbon worn as a necklace in the 16th–17th cents, contraction of St Audrey's lace: Audrey was a later form of Etheldrida (died 679), patron saint of Ely where tawdry laces, along with cheap imitations and other cheap finery, were traditionally sold at a fair.



More example sentences
  • They are very friendly, are not so tawdrily decorated as those we saw below, and use little or no paint.
  • My government is filled with people who are tawdrily seduced and unhealthily excited by proximity to it.
  • You find yourself much too ugly to go shopping in that bright mall with all these tawdrily dressed and rouged people?


More example sentences
  • To say nothing of the undocumented - and maybe undocumentable - tawdriness and sordidness that lay ahead.
  • For, whatever the Age's tawdriness and corruption, Hamlet shares that Age's unique magnificence, in considerable part a product of aesthetic greediness.
  • Indeed, the Gilded Age involved far more than gilt, tawdriness, and corruption.

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