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(pronounced tawd-ree)  adjective


1. showy; cheap and gaudy in appearance, quality, etc. 2. not noble in character, quality, or purpose; marked by baseness, lowness, or meanness; sleazy.

Other Forms

Tawdriness (pronounced tawd-ree-nes) noun

Main Example

  • Last month’s World Pumpkin Pie Eating Competition--an annual fixture in Clarence, NY--was won by a California resident who is a mere 115 pounds but was able to wolf down nearly 17 pounds. Personally for this author, watching or reading about such contests is far from entertaining. Instead, he finds them revolting. Why? Because, as he told a recent interviewer, “In an era when we are fighting this nationwide epidemic of obesity, I find such contests to be tawdry.”

Workplace Examples

  • Since he is not being paid for his keynote speech, I don’t think there is anything tawdry or low about Michael offering his books and CDs for sale at the end of his presentation.
  • The movie was good except for some of the special effects, which I found a bit cheap and tawdry.

Other Examples

  • while at a flea market, your spouse exclaiming: “Oh, this one is a really good painting. If we were to replace the frame, which is a bit tawdry, it would be perfect for the living room.”
  • tawdry jewelry; a particularly tawdry tweet from President Trump, such as the one this past June in which he disparaged the two co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show and then added “She was bleeding badly from a facelift,” drawing condemnation even from several leading Republican senators
  • a tawdry political campaign such as one in which a candidate equates his rival to “evil” and “Osama bin Laden”
  • the tawdriness of Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose who, reportedly, would suddenly appear nude in front of young women with whom they were working professionally
  • the 19th century German statesman Otto von Bismarck’s famous quote “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made” in reference to the tawdriness of the political process and how legislation is crafted

© 2018 V.J. Singal
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