from The Century Dictionary.

  • Joyful; merry; festive.
  • Brilliantly fine or gay; bright; garish.
  • Showy without taste; vulgarly gay or splendid; flashy.
  • Synonyms Flaunting, glittering; garish, flashy, dressy, finical. See tawdry.
  • noun A feast or festival; an entertainment; a treat.
  • noun Gaiety; gaudiness.
  • noun One of the beads in the rosary marking the five joyful mysteries, or five joys of the Virgin. See rosary. Also gaud.
  • noun One of the tapers burnt, in commemoration of the five joyful mysteries, by the image, on the altar, or in a chapel of the Virgin, during masses, antiphons, and hymns in her honor.
  • To deck with ostentatious finery; bedizen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Ostentatiously fine; showy; gay, but tawdry or meretricious.
  • adjective Gay; merry; festal.
  • noun obsolete One of the large beads in the rosary at which the paternoster is recited.
  • noun Oxford Univ. A feast or festival; -- called also gaud-day and gaudy day.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective very showy or ornamented, now especially when excessive, or in a tasteless or vulgar manner
  • noun A reunion held by one of the colleges of the University of Oxford for alumni, normally held during the summer vacations.

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

  • noun (Britain) a celebratory reunion feast or entertainment held a college
  • adjective (used especially of clothes) marked by conspicuous display
  • adjective tastelessly showy


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; perhaps from gaud ("ornament, trinket"), itself perhaps from Old French gaudir ("to rejoice").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin gaudium "joy".


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  • You nod and smile with every paragraph, and wish the story would unroll into a novel, breaking the boundaries of the book, streaming in gaudy tapestries, out through the door and into the blue wide yonder - to the place where awards are distributed and happy critics fall over themselves to lavish praise (this story did not win any awards, by the way) Why am I so excited about this?

    "Constellations", ed. by Peter Crowther 2009

  • Bender's fiction accepts those constraints and relates decidedly familiar stories dressed up in gaudy but cheap disguises.

    Experimental Fiction 2010

  • The odds were amazingly against me finding a hat I would ever wear again, because as you may recall, these retailers specialize in beachwear that makes the word gaudy hang its head in shame.

    Branding a country: How the Bahamiam logo sinks Margaritaville’s pirate ship « The Retort 2010

  • There is nothing worse than seeing art that wallows in gaudy baubles.

    Paragraphs On Conceptual Writing : Kenneth Goldsmith : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation 2007

  • The riotous colors and designs celebrate different fiestas ... white pompoms and streamers for the church, and for birthdays, big earthenware jars dressed in gaudy colors.

    The Colored Paper Affair 1997

  • The riotous colors and designs celebrate different fiestas ... white pompoms and streamers for the church, and for birthdays, big earthenware jars dressed in gaudy colors.

    The Colored Paper Affair 1997

  • I understood that the god of the Gentiles was no better than a toy, to be dressed up in gaudy stuffs and carried in processions.

    The Promised Land 1912

  • These damsels, in gaudy garments of emerald green, bright rose, and flaming yellow, were squatting outside their cabins or lounging unveiled about the thresholds of two or three dismal dens of cafés in the market-place.

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile 1891

  • The Praetorian praefect, the praefect of Rome, the quaestor, the master of the offices, with the public and patrimonial treasurers, * whose functions are painted in gaudy colors by the rhetoric of Cassiodorus, still continued to act as the ministers of state.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1206

  • A McMansion generally refers to a gaudy, oversize, spanking-new dwelling situated on a piece of land that can barely contain its size, the unfortunate result being that most McMansions stand cheek-to-jowl with their next door neighbors.

    What Women Want Paco Underhill 2010


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  • I reckoned the poor king was in for a gaudy time of it with the audience ... HF23

    December 7, 2006

  • "Rich, not gaudy; for the apparel oft proclaims the man." (Hamlet, Act I, Scene III)

    January 11, 2007