Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Marked by strident color or excessive ornamentation; gaudy.
  • adj. Loud and flashy: garish makeup. See Synonyms at gaudy1.
  • adj. Glaring; dazzling: "Hide me from Day's garish eye” ( John Milton).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Overly ostentatious; so colourful as to be in bad taste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Showy; dazzling; ostentatious; attracting or exciting attention.
  • adj. Gay to extravagance; flighty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Glaring; staring; showy; dazzling; hence, glaringly or vulgarly gaudy.
  • Extravagantly gay; flighty.
  • Synonyms Flaunting, flashy, tawdry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. tastelessly showy

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Old Norse gaurr ("rough fellow"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And I forgot to mention the billboards – giant things stretching from the ground up to about 15 – 20 feet up, typically in garish yellow or red, no pictures, just Chinese characters, and frequently tattered, faded, and torn.

    A Much Too Long Short Vacation « Hyperpat’s HyperDay

  • Now, a lot of the time, this is littered with various large kids 'toys, things to ride on in garish colors and whatnot.

    Stupid

  • Children playing, men in garish Hawaiian shirts at the grill, women in fun and flirty sundresses, sprinklers on lawns, and older ladies fanning themselves make a tapestry of summer.

    Archive 2006-08-01

  • While the Trumps and Iacoccas of the world prefer to present themselves in garish books with jackets featuring large color photos of their own faces, Buffett, the legendary midwestern cheapskate with a knack for discovering hidden value in cookware clubs (The Pampered Chef) and encyclopedia publishers (World Book), has reclaimed a form of junk mail for his collected works.

    American Everyman

  • He owns and possesses in garish, exorbitant fashion.

    Coming Heavy | PopPolitics.com

  • The Church of St. Eloi was very ancient, and adorned with strange old statues of clumsily carved stone painted in garish colors.

    A Childhood in Brittany Eighty Years Ago

  • Meanwhile, the eyes of Jonathan S. Paul, of T Magazine’s The Moment blog, have been lingering both on technology that can be camouflaged and cables to connect them in garish colors.

    C.E.S. Picks: Wireless Video Networks and G.P.S. for Dogs - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • It is printed on paper made apparently from gray oatmeal, pressed between illustrated covers seven times too vivid to be called garish, and shipped in car-load lots to all points of the English-speaking compass.

    Genres and niche markets

  • The production struck me as obvious and not a little garish, which isn't necessarily out of place in this kind of material, although the big orgy at her place looked a bit to much like what you'd find at a frat house beer bash.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • As well call the garish new building on the embankment Sion College.

    As We Are and As We May Be

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