Definition of tawdry adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈtɔːdri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtɔːdri//
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  1. 1intended to be bright and attractive but cheap and of low quality tawdry jewellery
  2. 2involving low moral standards; extremely unpleasant or offensive a tawdry affair
  3. Word Originearly 17th cent.: 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.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: tawdry