Garish, gawdy, with lace of staring and discordant colours : a term said to be derived from the shrine and altar of St. Audrey (an Isle of Ely saintess), which for finery exceeded all others thereabouts, so as to become proverbial ; whence any fine dressed man or woman said to be all St Audrey, and by contraction, all tawdry.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Taw"dry (?), a. [Compar. Tawdrier (?); superl. Tawdriest.] [Said to be corrupted from Saint Audrey, or Auldrey, meaning Saint Ethelreda, implying therefore, originally, bought at the fair of St. Audrey, where laces and gay toys of all sorts were sold. This fair was held in Isle Ely, and probably at other places, on the day of the saint, which was the 17th of October.]


Bought at the festival of St. Audrey.


And gird in your waist, For more fineness, with a tawdry lace. Spenser.


Very fine and showy in colors, without taste or elegance; having an excess of showy ornaments without grace; cheap and gaudy; as, a tawdry dress; tawdry feathers; tawdry colors.

<-- tacky? -->

He rails from morning to night at essenced fops and tawdry courtiers. Spectator.


© Webster 1913.

Taw"dry, n.; pl. Tawdries ().

A necklace of a rural fashion, bought at St. Audrey's fair; hence, a necklace in general.


Of which the Naiads and the blue Nereids make Them tawdries for their necks. Drayton.


© Webster 1913.

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