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[1540s], of unknown origin, possibly from obsolete Middle English Middle English gawren (to stare) which is of uncertain origin, probably from Old Norse gaurr (rough fellow)[1]. Compare with English gaw.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɛəɹɪʃ/
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garish (comparative more garish, superlative most garish)

  1. Overly ostentatious; so colourful as to be in bad taste.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:gaudy
    The dress fits her well, but the pattern is rather garish.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      "My tastes," he said, still smiling, "incline me to the garishly sunlit side of this planet." And, to tease her and arouse her to combat: "I prefer a farandole to a nocturne; I'd rather have a painting than an etching; Mr. Whistler bores me with his monochromatic mud; I don't like dull colours, dull sounds, dull intellects; []."
    • 2003 August 10, Ken Keeler, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", Futurama, season 5, episode 16, Fox Broadcasting Company
      Leela: He gave me mechanical ears / Effective though just a bit garish.

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ garish” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.