Definition of tawdry in English:

tawdry

adjective

  • 1Showy but cheap and of poor quality.

    ‘tawdry jewellery’
    • ‘Sure, Vegas may be tacky, tawdry, glitzy, pricey, shallow, obscene, and frequently offensive, but dammit, so is America.’
    • ‘Beyond Mallorca's tired and tawdry resorts lies an unspoilt, unpolluted island - and if you don't believe us, visit the rural village of Costitx, whose international observatory opened in 1991.’
    • ‘I know that with all the ghastly images on TV and tawdry clothing worn by most that bad messages are sent to the young mind.’
    • ‘As the week segues into Christmas, the tawdry glitter of the tinsel and plastic Christmas ornaments fails to warm us with a transcedental inner glow.’
    • ‘It was so tawdry and cheap looking, I couldn't resist.’
    • ‘The first hint of Christmas is no longer the tawdry line of tinsel in the high street.’
    • ‘Beside them, lines of impoverished street vendors squat on dirty rush mats, displaying their tawdry collections of cheap plastic keyrings and fake Rolex watches.’
    • ‘Which is saying something, considering the sleazy, tawdry appearance she presented.’
    • ‘The familiar sadness of the ceremony was multiplied by its setting: a tawdry tar-paper barrack surrounded by strips of barbed wire which denied the parents of the honored soldiers the very freedom for which their sons had died.’
    • ‘With a whole new series of wallpapers and floors in leopard-print and fake gold, you can decorate your brothel to give it that gaudy, tawdry look that will have the punters coming back for more.’
    • ‘To simplify matters, he took some photographs with him of Lee's gold-encrusted fist so he could be sure of getting something equally tawdry, ostentatious and meretricious.’
    • ‘Nor do Israeli presidents wear plastic sunglasses, carry pistols to the U.N., or have chests full of cheap and tawdry metals.’
    • ‘Then I distributed the cheap and tawdry things in a convincing fashion all over the house.’
    • ‘The Candleglow insignia in the corner doesn't help matters, but simply emphasizes how cheap and tawdry the whole thing looks.’
    • ‘All has changed now and Senator Norris's hope that the area would be the Left Bank of Dublin has faded to reveal a tawdry temple to tacky consumerism.’
    • ‘They were once looked down upon as the tawdry poor relations of the fashion industry.’
    • ‘Shares would drop, pop stars would be seen packing their tawdry belongings into Lear jets and jetting off to some marble mansion in the Costa Del Sol to await the return of the Tories and people would start buying gold to hide under their beds.’
    • ‘The place where Wuornos was arrested - a tawdry biker joint in Florida's Daytona Beach called The Last Resort, where women's underwear hangs above the bar - draws the curious.’
    • ‘For most visitors it was shabby and tawdry, with hotel rooms designed to be so uncomfortable that you had to go downstairs and gamble.’
    • ‘Big brogues aren't exactly a high-fashion footwear item these days, but then neither are those tawdry tan shoes with tacky pink shoelaces!’
    gaudy, flashy, showy, garish, loud
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    1. 1.1 Sordid or unpleasant.
      ‘the tawdry business of politics’
      • ‘These tired statements are in aid of the staff recommendation for a tired and tawdry idea from the '80s - that Toronto should prepare a bid to host the World Expo here in 2015.’
      • ‘There has been much criticism of this strategy, some from me, but in a way the strategy in itself is contributing to a positive perception that the National leader is somehow above indulging in these tawdry games.’
      • ‘This may evade privacy restrictions but is cheap and tawdry at best.’
      • ‘Women seeking counsel on how to get the most out of their husbands can dip into a river of self-help books, tawdry daytime TV shows and features that dramatize the female author's plight in women's magazines.’
      • ‘But even with all its tawdry details, the case raises some serious issues about the way the justice system treats rape complainants and defendants.’
      • ‘If we can somehow do that, then we will have the diverse regional parts of this big blue marble as a permanent stage on which to play out our mostly tawdry - but occasionally splendid - human dramas.’
      • ‘Whatever the lying word or disgraceful deed, you are always left with the feeling that something so paltry, so pointlessly tawdry, must lead to a larger scandal.’
      • ‘Others think this can only be a good thing, saying the outdoor advertising industry has long been seen as tawdry and tasteless.’
      • ‘However crass and tawdry this influence-peddling may be, it hardly comes as a shock.’
      • ‘Liberals read more broadly and deeply, so their intellect infuses the entire catalog, or even all of Western literature, not just a few tawdry best sellers.’
      • ‘In summary, he says, yet another shabby, tawdry cover-up by the Defence Force and the Government.’
      • ‘Second, a sense that writers, readers and books should dwell in a pure, fluffy space in the clouds, removed from tawdry concerns of image… or even, perhaps, human physicality.’
      • ‘And rather than the fake documents pointing to a global conspiracy implicating half the statesmen of the western world, might there not be a rather more tawdry, banal explanation for the Telegraph documents?’
      • ‘Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom… What a cheap and tawdry political trick.’
      • ‘Obviously some tipsters do better than others, otherwise they would go out of business - you would be surprised how many do, only to surface under another name and charge even more for their tawdry nonsense.’
      • ‘They are cheap, tawdry politicians not worthy of anything other than contempt.’
      • ‘That, I told myself, is only the stuff you read about in cheap, tawdry romance novels (which I happen to write).’
      • ‘The silky relationship between art and fashion may seem charming but is often a tawdry, corrupting, even whorish affair.’
      • ‘What they don't realise is that tinsel and tawdry jokes take the joy out of the season of goodwill.’
      • ‘Not only did he disapprove of gay marriage, but refused to even give relationship status to gay and lesbian couples, preferring the tawdry term ‘liaisons’.’
      improper, sordid, unseemly, unsavoury, sleazy, seedy, seamy, shoddy, vile, foul, louche, cheap, base, low, low-minded, nasty, debased, degenerate, depraved, corrupt, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, despicable, discreditable, disgraceful, contemptible, ignominious, ignoble, shameful, wretched, abhorrent, odious, abominable, disgusting
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noun

mass nounarchaic
  • Cheap and gaudy finery.

    • ‘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.’

Origin

Early 17th century: short for tawdry lace, a fine silk lace or ribbon worn as a necklace in the 16th–17th centuries, 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.

Pronunciation

tawdry

/ˈtɔːdri/