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

  • n. Shoddy material, as for the construction of standardized housing.
  • adj. Made of shoddy material; cheaply built.
  • adj. Marked by a mediocre uniformity of appearance or style: ticky-tacky rows of look-alike houses.
  • adj. Tawdry; tacky.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Cheap, low-quality building material, especially as that used to make conventional suburban housing of a uniform design
  • adj. Made of this material


Reduplication of tacky2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • In the first forty or so examples, Pete Seeger, who made the song "Little Boxes" popular, is mentioned twice, but Malvina Reynolds, who wrote the song and originated the term, is not mentioned at all. Daly City is mentioned, and she was passing through Daly City when she got the idea for the song.

    July 2, 2012