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Tawdry   Listen
adjective
Tawdry  adj.  (compar. tawdrier; superl. tawdriest)  
1.
Bought at the festival of St. Audrey. (Obs.) "And gird in your waist, For more fineness, with a tawdry lace."
2.
Very fine and showy in colors, without taste or elegance; having an excess of showy ornaments without grace; cheap and gaudy; as, a tawdry dress; tawdry feathers; tawdry colors. "He rails from morning to night at essenced fops and tawdry courtiers."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Tawdry" Quotes from Famous Books



... and did not do. Every country has its peculiarities, which one can be much better informed of during one's residence there, than by reading all the books in the world afterward. While you are in Catholic countries, inform yourself of all the forms and ceremonies of that tawdry church; see their converts both of men and women, know their several rules and orders, attend their most remarkable ceremonies; have their terms of art explained to you, their 'tierce, sexte, nones, matines; vepres, ...
— The PG Edition of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son • The Earl of Chesterfield

... suspended in the centre of a chamber, formerly the salle de reception of Henry II. d'Albret, and surrounded with trophies, in tawdry taste, which it is the intention to have removed, and the gilt helmet and feathers replaced by some armour really ...
— Barn and the Pyrenees - A Legendary Tour to the Country of Henri Quatre • Louisa Stuart Costello

... down Broadway late at night, after an evening at some tiresome play and supper at some yet more tiresome and tawdry restaurant. I had been having what is popularly supposed to be a "good time," and I was bored. There had been a recent deep fall of snow. The night was clear and cold. Below Herald Square I met comparatively few ...
— Penguin Persons & Peppermints • Walter Prichard Eaton

... was Jose Querida who dominated the whole show, flooding everything with the splendour of his sunshine so that all else in the same room looked cold or tawdry or washed out. His canvas, with its superbly vigorous drawing, at once became the sensation of the exhibition. Sunday supplements reproduced it with a photograph of Querida looking amiably at a statuette of Venus which he held in his long, tapering fingers; magazines tried to print ...
— The Common Law • Robert W. Chambers

... which has no realities of sterling worth underlying the specious shows which it makes. 'Specious' itself, let me note, meant beautiful at one time, and not, as now, presenting a deceitful appearance of beauty. 'Tawdry,' an epithet applied once to lace or other finery bought at the fair of St. Awdrey or St. Etheldreda, has run through the same course: it at one time conveyed no suggestion of mean finery or shabby splendour, as now it does. 'Voluble' ...
— On the Study of Words • Richard C Trench

... he moved through the hurrying crowd, he was conscious of a name constantly on their lips. It was muttered by the voices of tipsy men reeling from their vile dens of intoxication, by the lips of painted women as they drew their furs around their tawdry finery, by the artisans with their pinched faces and hungry eyes, by all the classes to whom life is a bitter struggle with ...
— The Mystery of a Turkish Bath • E.M. Gollan (AKA Rita)

... twilight passes into them then. Your hair has the gloss and brownness of ripe nuts, and your face is always pale. Your lips have a trick of falling apart in a half-smile when you listen. They told me before I knew you that you were pretty. Pretty! The word is cheap and tawdry. You are beautiful, with the beauty of a pearl or a star ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1905 to 1906 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... be swept and garnished before the man of the house can dwell in it. You have read history, Such a purging has descended on the Church at many times, and the world has awakened to a new hope. It is the same in all religions. The temples grow tawdry and foul and must be cleansed, and, let me remind you, the cleanser has always come out ...
— Prester John • John Buchan

... vestibule, where, if he had not been previously informed, he would immediately perceive that he was entering the house of no common man. In the spacious and lofty hall which opens before him, he marks no tawdry and unmeaning ornaments, but before, on the right, on the left, all around, the eye is struck and gratified with objects of science and taste, so classed and arranged as to produce their finest effect. On one side, specimens of sculpture set out in such order as to exhibit ... the historical ...
— Choice Specimens of American Literature, And Literary Reader - Being Selections from the Chief American Writers • Benj. N. Martin

... she wore an under dress of blue satin, also richly embroidered, but which was several shades lighter in colour than the upper garment. The petticoat was formed of tartan silk, in the sett, or pattern, of which the colour of blue greatly predominated, so as to remove the tawdry effect too frequently produced in tartan, by the mixture and strong opposition of colours. An antique silver chain hung round her neck, and supported the WREST, or key, with which she turned her instrument. A small ruff rose above her collar, and was secured ...
— A Legend of Montrose • Sir Walter Scott

... and dismal and tawdry everything seemed to her. Her little white dress, the dress in which she had lain by her mother's side, was soiled and tumbled, and the wreath of roses looked crushed and faded, as Rosalie took it from the box There was no mother to fasten it on her hair, no mother to ...
— A Peep Behind the Scenes • Mrs. O. F. Walton

... in the Scottish Language" (Inverness, 1804), 2 vols. 12mo. Among some rubbish, and much tawdry versification, there is occasional power, which, however, is insufficient to compensate for the general inferiority. There are only a few songs, but these are superior to the poems; and those following are not unworthy of a place among ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI. - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... Are now bedecked with tawdry gems of paste; Parisian robes thy withered limbs conceal; Thy wrinkled cheeks are rouged; in vulgar taste A modern watch-fob holds the ...
— Poems • John L. Stoddard

... that no sense can hit, Scar'd by the jargon of unmeaning wit, The senseless splendour of the tawdry stage[2], The loud long plaudits of a trifling age, Where dost thou wander? Exil'd in disgrace, Find'st thou in foreign realms some happier place[3]? Or dost thou still though banish'd from the town, In Britain love to linger, though unknown? Light Hymen's torch through ev'ry blooming grove,[4] ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 5 • Edited by E. V. Lucas

... of other things, while I stood there gasping, staring, sick at heart. All my vinous joy was gone, leaving me a haggard, weary wretch of a man, disenchanted and miserable to the verge of—what? I shuddered. The lights seemed to have gone blurred and dim. The hall was tawdry, cheap and vulgar. The women, who but a moment before had seemed creatures of grace and charm, were now nothing more than painted, posturing harridans, their seductive smiles the leers ...
— The Trail of '98 - A Northland Romance • Robert W. Service

... papers of a stranger, the toil of a life, perhaps—to open, and to read them. And what have we to do with books? The Herr Doctor might perhaps be asked for his advice; but we have no index expurgatorius in Gruenewald. Had we but that, we should be the most absolute parody and farce upon this tawdry earth." ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... long service, but it was neatly brushed and darned, and the ability to wear threadbare clothing with distinction was not the least of Edgar Poe's talents. Beside his worn, but cared-for apparel, costly dress often seemed tawdry. ...
— The Dreamer - A Romantic Rendering of the Life-Story of Edgar Allan Poe • Mary Newton Stanard

... beheld a figure the face of which he had seen so imperfectly once before by the flash of his own pistol in the darkness. Upon this occasion, however, the whole figure was stamped out with intense sharpness against the darkness, and Barnaby beheld, as clear as day, a great burly man, clad in a tawdry tinsel coat, with a cocked hat with gold braid upon his head. His legs, with petticoat breeches and cased in great leathern sea-boots pulled up to his knees, stood planted wide apart as though to brace against the slant of the deck. ...
— Stolen Treasure • Howard Pyle

... one play after another. Glapthorne's stock of fancies was not very extensive, but he puts himself to considerable pains to make the most of them. In The Lady Mother we find the same ornaments spread out before us, many of them very tawdry at their best. Glapthorne's editor has striven to show that the weak-kneed playwright was a fellow-pupil of John Milton's at St. Paul's. One cannot think of the two names together without calling to mind the "lean and flashy songs" and ...
— A Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. II • Various

... world, the half world and Bohemia; he flings great names in your face, dropping with a sublime familiarity the vulgar prefixes of "Mr." and "Lord," and he overwhelms you with his knowledge of women and their wicked ways. Clever Ouida, with her tawdry splendours, her guardsmen, her peers, her painters and her Aspasias, and the "society papers," with their confidences and their personalities, have much to answer for in the case of this would-be man ...
— Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series • George Robert Aberigh-Mackay

... and fine raiment; she brought away from it nothing but new methods of arranging the hair, and patterns of gowns. The new, exaggerated toilettes of the actresses, their gait, even the spurious elegance of their speech, which seemed to her of the highest distinction, and with it all the tawdry magnificence of the gilding and the lights, the gaudy placard at the door, the long line of carriages, and all the somewhat unwholesome excitement that springs up about a popular play; that was what she loved, that was what ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... princess, whose name, shortened into St. Audrey, was given to a certain kind of lace, whence "tawdry"; she took refuge from the married state in the monastery of St. Abb's Head, and afterwards founded a monastery in the Isle ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... whose hobby is human living; and whose chief adventures are at home. You will never hear the builders of Buckfast shouting aloud, "Down with Downside; for it was designed by a careful Gothic architect!" You will never hear them say, "How contemptible are these Catholics who pray in common churches; tawdry with waxwork imagery and Repository Art." Of the great adventurers who advance out of the Christian past, in search of Christian future, you could never say that the pioneers despise ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... impression of fearlessness, though cold terror was knocking at her heart. Masked with indifference her veiled eyes were watching the robber chief closely. This was, indeed, the Arab of her imaginings, this gross, unwieldy figure lying among the tawdry cushions, his swollen, ferocious face seamed and lined with every mark of vice, his full, sensual lips parted and showing broken, blackened teeth, his deep-set, bloodshot eyes with a look in them ...
— The Sheik - A Novel • E. M. Hull

... some charming French vignettes!" cried Opportunity, running up to a table where lay some inferior coloured engravings, that were intended to represent the cardinal virtues, under the forms of tawdry female beauties. The workmanship was French, as were the inscriptions. Now, Opportunity knew just enough French to translate these inscriptions, simple and school-girl as they were, as wrong as they could possibly be translated, ...
— The Redskins; or, Indian and Injin, Volume 1. - Being the Conclusion of the Littlepage Manuscripts • James Fenimore Cooper

... objected. From the moment she had struck her hand into his, there in the tawdry "saloon" of the toll-house, and cried out, "Come!" she let him do as he chose. So he had carried her away to the city hall, where, like any other unclassed or unchurched lovers, they were married by a hurried city official. She had had one more crisis of rage, when in the mayor's office, as she ...
— The Iron Woman • Margaret Deland

... answered me:- "Sir, I was sick with revelry. True, I have scarred the night with sin, A pale and tawdry heroine; But once I heard a voice that said 'Who lives in sin is surely dead, But whoso turns to follow me Hath ...
— Forty-Two Poems • James Elroy Flecker

... covered a territory stretching over five thousand miles from North to South. Twice a year Spain sent out her trading-ships, convoyed by armed cruisers. Trade then was monopoly and extortion. The goods sent out were as cheap and tawdry as could be palmed off; all that were brought back were bartered for at the lowest ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 12 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Scientists • Elbert Hubbard

... bears the name of Patino and Palmosa, but a natural grotto in the rock is still shown as the place where St. John resided. "In and around it," says Mr. Turner, "the Greeks have dressed up one of their tawdry churches; and on the same site is a school attached to the church, in which a few children are ...
— The Illustrated London Reading Book • Various

... months I breathed the atmosphere of pain, saw no other light, heard no other sounds, thought no other thoughts than those which accompany physical suffering and weariness. To my memory these weeks seem years; I have no measure of their monotony. The lodgings were bare and yet tawdry; out of dingy windows we looked from a second storey upon a dull small street, drowned in autumnal fog. My Father came to see us when he could, but otherwise, save when we made our morning expedition to the doctor, or when a slatternly girl waited upon us with our distasteful meals, ...
— Father and Son • Edmund Gosse

... shot its first rays into her eyes. David lay near by, breathing lightly, his face like a pale carven mask against the blanket's folds. Down below in the camp the fire burned low, its flame looking ineffectual and tawdry in the flushed splendor of the sunrise. Daddy John was astir, moving about among the animals and pausing to rub Julia's nose and hearten ...
— The Emigrant Trail • Geraldine Bonner

... "the latter rather affected to despise his literary reputation; and in this, perhaps, the great Congreve was not far wrong. A touch of Steele's tenderness is worth all his finery; a flash of Swift's lightning, a beam of Addison's pure sunshine, and his tawdry playhouse taper is invisible. But the ladies loved him, and he ...
— Thackeray • Anthony Trollope

... me descending from a cab at the door of a rather dissipated looking mansion in the northern suburb. A servant admitted me, but I had to wait alone for a quarter of an hour or more in the stuffy and rather tawdry luxury of a great drawing-room. After a time I realized that Agatha was making me wait purposely in a refinement of cruelty, knowing well what ...
— Branded • Francis Lynde

... to the University) in a box built for her near the Vice-Chancellor, "where she sat for three days together, to receive adoration, and hear herself for four hours at a time called Minerva." In this assembly, adds the wit, in his peculiar style, "she appeared in all the tawdry poverty and frippery imaginable, and in a scoured damask robe," and wonders that "she did not wash out a few words of Latin," as she used to fricassee French and Italian; or, that "she did not torture some learned simile," as when she ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847 • Various

... duty I was vividly impressed with the dignity of the work accomplished in arts and crafts by the women of Germany, where it was exhibited together with that of men. In the one instance where women secluded themselves it was shown with appalling force that the result was tawdry ...
— Final Report of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission • Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission

... connexion with the abbey built by St. Etheldreda, and at this fair a famous "fairing" was "St. Audrey's laces." St. Audrey, or Etheldreda, in the days of her youthful vanity was very fond of wearing necklaces and jewels. "St. Audrey's laces" became corrupted into "Tawdry laces"; hence the adjective has come to be applied to all cheap and showy pieces ...
— Vanishing England • P. H. Ditchfield

... painted yellow, picked out with scarlet; but the paint that had looked brilliant in the sun of the harvest days looked tawdry and dirty now against the snow, and every patch or scar of rough usage was easily discernible. Now and then the wind came with a savage gust, carrying stray straws out of one of the waggons, though snow was collecting on the floor: on the other, the cords of a tarpaulin, indifferently ...
— 'Murphy' - A Message to Dog Lovers • Major Gambier-Parry

... the murderer had escaped. And that the man who had attacked Mrs. Jasher was a murderer could be seen from the stream of blood that ran slowly from Mrs. Jasher's breast. Apparently she had been stabbed in the lungs, for the wound was on the right side. There she lay, poor woman, in her tawdry finery, crumpled up, battered and bruised, dead amongst the ruins of her home. Jane immediately began ...
— The Green Mummy • Fergus Hume

... in the least hurt, you cannot refrain from a thrill of annoyance that a country which has boasted in so loud-mouthed a way to Europe of having begun its national life by a wholesome scorn of all class distinction, should contain citizens cursed by a spirit of such tawdry pride. At least the aristocracies of other lands, vicious and reprehensible as they have always been, are yet an evil with a certain malign consistency for their support. Like those monarchies of which they have formed a piteous adjunct, ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 20, July, 1891 • Various

... quarrel that it took all the landlord's threats and vigour of arm to put an end ta By this time I was becoming tired of my company; now that the spae-wife had planted the seed of distress in my mind, those people were tawdry, unclean, wretched. They were all in rags, foul and smelling; their music was but noise demented. I wondered at myself there in so vicious a company. And Betty—home—love—peace—how all the tribe of them suddenly took up every corner of my mind. Oh! fool, fool, I called myself, to be thinking your ...
— John Splendid - The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn • Neil Munro

... "The concerts begin next Saturday at the Haymarket. Carestini sings, Pescetti composes; the house is made up into little boxes, like the playhouses abroad." Dr. Burney gives a comic account of the undertaking. "The opera, a tawdry, expensive and meretricious lady, who had been accustomed to high keeping, was now reduced to a very humble state. Her establishment was not only diminished, but her servants reduced to half-pay. Pescetti ...
— Handel • Edward J. Dent

... of the life here I looked upon as only an incident. The gay tawdry had faded; I realized how much more enduring were the rough, uncouth but genuine products like my friend Mr. Jenks and those of that ilk, who spoke me well instead of merely fair. Health of mind and body should ...
— Desert Dust • Edwin L. Sabin

... gayly-dressed people crowded the pavements. The exquisite weather had drawn them out. Belles with their ringlets and sun-shades, and beaux with canes and curled moustaches. Irish women in tawdry finery, and ladies of color with every variety of ornament, and ridiculous imitation of fashion. Now and then a respectable-looking negro would pass, turning out of the ...
— Aunt Phillis's Cabin - Or, Southern Life As It Is • Mary H. Eastman

... a conscience. What this conscience seemed to press upon her notice with an insistence that startled her—Lady Caroline hesitated to accept the word, but it would keep on coming into her head—was that she was tawdry. ...
— The Enchanted April • Elizabeth von Arnim

... DOLL. Bartholomew doll; a tawdry, over-drest woman, like one of the children's dolls at Bartholomew fair. To mill doll; to beat hemp at Bridewell, or any other ...
— 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue • Captain Grose et al.

... and a tremulous movement of his right eye-lid showed plainly that he had not yet forgotten the fun and frolic of youth. His dress was of richer and more gaudy material, but at the same time more tawdry and tattered, than that of the others. Altogether he looked like an artiste in distressed circumstances, and such he really was. At a word and a sign from the host he laid aside his bone and drew from under his green silk khalat a small wind-instrument resembling ...
— Russia • Donald Mackenzie Wallace

... indicated her proclivities in art. But Miss Stanley took no notice of these things. She walked straight across to the wardrobe and opened it. There, hanging among Ann Veronica's more normal clothing, was a skimpy dress of red canvas, trimmed with cheap and tawdry braid, and short—it could hardly reach below the knee. On the same peg and evidently belonging to it was a black velvet Zouave jacket. And then! a garment that ...
— Ann Veronica • H. G. Wells

... the town again to-day. Called at the houses of a couple of the princes, in which I found everything dirty, with an attempt at tawdry finery. A black houri was set to fan me. We were served with rose syrup. Walked to the prince's garden—a beautiful wilderness of cocoa and betel nuts, sweet orange and mango, with heterogeneous patches of rice, sweet potatoes and beans, ...
— The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter • Raphael Semmes

... with distaste. Everything was not only cheap, but common and tawdry. Still, the dining-room, like all the other rooms in the chalet, was singularly clean, and almost ...
— The Chink in the Armour • Marie Belloc Lowndes

... most clung, if not to self-interest, to personal crotchets. What is more darling to a man than the child of his intellect or fancy? How the poor poetaster hugs his tawdry verses as if they were the imperial ornaments of genius! Just in the same way does the politician love the policies himself hath devised, pressing them forward at all hazards, while he is blind to the utility of others. This ...
— Ginx's Baby • Edward Jenkins

... an involuntary movement towards her, then, checked himself abruptly and stood looking down at her in silence. From the ball-room there floated out the strains of the latest fox-trot, sounding curiously cheap and tawdry as they cut across the deep, almost solemn intensity that prevailed in the quiet room where a man had just stripped his soul naked to the eyes of the woman he loved and now stood as ...
— The Vision of Desire • Margaret Pedler

... and individual. In the eyes of the Chinese of the old school these changes in the habit of life infinitely old are improving nothing and ruining much—all is empty, vapid, useless to God and man. The tawdry shell, the valueless husk, of ancient Chinese life is here still, remains untouched in many places, as will have been seen in previous chapters; but the soul within is steadily and surely, if slowly, undergoing a process of final atrophy. But yet the proper opening-up ...
— Across China on Foot • Edwin Dingle

... ordinary currant bun, eaten new and in quantity. A light humorous style is best attained by soda-water and dry biscuits, following cafe-noir. The soda-water may be either Scotch or Irish as the taste inclines. For a florid, tawdry style the beginner must take nothing but boiled water, stewed vegetables, and an interest in the movements against vivisection, opium, alcohol, tobacco, sarcophagy, ...
— Certain Personal Matters • H. G. Wells

... sure of that, Bristles?" asked Fred, upon hearing his chum make such an astonishing assertion with regard to that tawdry breastpin picked ...
— Fred Fenton Marathon Runner - The Great Race at Riverport School • Allen Chapman

... possibilities, and yet does not lose the glamour which was never on sea or land. No artist could give more cultured notions of fairyland. In his work the vulgar glories of a pantomime are replaced by well-conceived splendour; the tawdry adjuncts of a throne-room, as represented in a theatre, are ignored. Temples and palaces of the early Renaissance, filled with graceful—perhaps a shade too suave—figures, embody all the charm of the impossible country, with none of the sordid drawbacks that are common to real life. ...
— Children's Books and Their Illustrators • Gleeson White

... sorrowfully, without a bit of anger, so that I was softened in a trice. "But the ladies of New York, even, are no such tawdry make-believes as this.—Heaven knows, I would give ten years of life for a sight of ...
— Philip Winwood • Robert Neilson Stephens

... of the gilt chandeliers or the subdued light of the Chinese lanterns, which were brilliantly decorated with long silken tassels. On the walls there was a lamentable medley of landscapes in dim and gaudy colors, painted in Canton or Hongkong, mingled with tawdry chromos of odalisks, half-nude women, effeminate lithographs of Christ, the deaths of the just and of the sinners—made by Jewish houses in Germany to be sold in the Catholic countries. Nor were there lacking the Chinese prints on red paper representing a man seated, of venerable aspect, with ...
— The Reign of Greed - Complete English Version of 'El Filibusterismo' • Jose Rizal

... thee, Dear Swift, those spotless leaves I send; Small is the present, but sincere the friend. Think not so poor a book below thy care; Who knows the price that thou canst make it bear? Tho' tawdry now, and like Tyralla's face, The spacious front shines out with borrow'd grace; Tho' pasteboards, glitt'ring like a tinsell'd coat, A rasa tabula within denote; Yet if a venal and corrupted age, And modern ...
— Irish Wit and Humor - Anecdote Biography of Swift, Curran, O'Leary and O'Connell • Anonymous

... squalor and luxury in one story of what had once been a glorious roseate home of Venetian counts, and was now crumbling to pieces and let in flats to the poor. Hilary and his wife were most suitably domiciled therein, environed by a splendid dinginess and squalor, pretentious, tawdry, grandiose, and superbly evading the common. Peggy wrote to Peter in her large sprawling hand, "You dear little brother, I wish you'd come and live with us. We have such fun...." That was the best of Peggy. Always and everywhere she had such fun. She added, ...
— The Lee Shore • Rose Macaulay

... is it an elephant, white as milk and bearing a severed head That tatters his broad soft wrinkled flank in tawdry patches of red, With a negro giant to walk beside and a temple dome above, Where ruby and emerald shatter the sun,—is it these that ...
— Collected Poems - Volume One (of 2) • Alfred Noyes

... palaces, or in scenes resembling palaces; but, when they make their appearance amongst people in the middle rank of life, where, after all, they only serve to show that poverty in the parties which they wish to disguise; when the mean, tawdry things make their appearance in this rank of life, they are the sure indications of a disposition that will always be straining at what ...
— The Young Man's Guide • William A. Alcott

... Grace. "I think it is an imposture. This man was not a clergyman when he brought me the certificate; he was a man of business, a plain tradesman, a man of the world; he had a colored necktie, and some rather tawdry chains." ...
— A Perilous Secret • Charles Reade

... into an interior that is small, very usually planned, and much defaced by XVII century gilt—yet is essentially dignified and impressive. Eliminate the tawdry altars, take away the stucco Saints and painted Virgins, let the chapels be mere shadowy corners in the dark perspective, and the little church appears like the meeting-place of the Faithful of an early Christianity. Its nave and each ...
— Cathedrals and Cloisters of the South of France, Volume 1 • Elise Whitlock Rose

... of course, be made for tawdry accessories and repeated coats of shiny oleaginous paint—very disagreeable where it has peeled off and almost more so where it has not. What work could stand against such treatment as the Valsesian terra-cotta ...
— Essays on Life, Art and Science • Samuel Butler

... was a drop-scene on which was daubed a blue lake with very green hills in the distance. As the tobacco smoke grew thicker and the fiddles went on squealing, this tawdry picture began to mesmerize me. I seemed to be looking out of a window at a lovely summer landscape where there were no wars or danger. I seemed to feel the warm sun and to smell the fragrance of blossom from the islands. And then I became ...
— Greenmantle • John Buchan

... morning light, his clothes soaked by the wet woods, as were Bessie's for that matter, he looked very cheap and tawdry, and not at all like a man to be feared. But a moment's reflection convinced Bessie that, for the time at least, it would be far wiser to leave matters in the hands of Lolla, the gypsy girl, who understood this man, and, if she feared him, and with ...
— The Camp Fire Girls at Long Lake - Bessie King in Summer Camp • Jane L. Stewart

... the irrepressible Henri Rochefort. I remember accompanying one of our artists, Gaildrau, when a sketch was made of the scene of the crime, the Prince's drawing-room at Auteuil, a peculiar semi-circular, panelled and white-painted apartment furnished in what we should call in England a tawdry mid-Victorian style. On the occasion of Noir's funeral my father and myself were in the Champs Elysees when the tumultuous revolutionary procession, in which Rochefort figured conspicuously, swept down ...
— My Days of Adventure - The Fall of France, 1870-71 • Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

... imagination the sublimity of the Desert dwarfed humanity. These people had been wiser to choose another place for the flaunting of their tawdry insignificance. Any minute this Wilderness, "huddled in grey annihilation," might ...
— Four Weird Tales • Algernon Blackwood

... Everywhere you will meet with traces of it, and I have in another chapter told some of the principal phases of these. But the religion has kept itself pure. No hysteric visions, no madman's dreams, no clever conjurer's tricks, have ever shed a tawdry glory on the monkhood of the Buddha. Amid all the superstition round about them they have remained pure, as they have from passion and desire. Here in the far East, the very home, we think, of the unnatural and superhuman, the very cradle of the mysterious and the wonderful, is a religion ...
— The Soul of a People • H. Fielding

... little, and cared less, about the literature of modern Italy. His favorite models were Latin. His favorite critics were French. Half the Tuscan poetry that he had read seemed to him monstrous, and the other half tawdry. ...
— Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... this quip would leave us cold. The 'Isles of Greece' seem rather tawdry too; but on the 'Address to the Ocean,' or on 'The Dying Gladiator,' 'time has ...
— Essays of Travel • Robert Louis Stevenson

... smouldering fire in her eyes proclaimed it. Her long, rather narrow face was gripped between her hands; her elbows rested upon the brick parapet. She gazed at that world of blood-red mists, of unshapely, grotesque buildings, of strange, tawdry colors; she listened to the medley of sounds—crude, shrill, insistent, something like the groaning of a world stripped naked—and she had all the time the air of one who hates the thing she ...
— The Tempting of Tavernake • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... too artless, to hide my childish joy at the change: a change, in the real truth, for much the worse, since I must have much better become the neat easy simplicity of my rustic dress than the awkward, untoward, tawdry finery that I could not conceal my ...
— Memoirs Of Fanny Hill - A New and Genuine Edition from the Original Text (London, 1749) • John Cleland

... was finally brought to a mooring just across the canal from the tented field where the circus was pitched. The dirty brown canvas of the large and small tents showed that the circus had already had a long season. Everything was tarnished and tawdry about the show at this time of year. Even the ornate band wagon was shabby and the vociferous calliope seemed to have the croup whenever it ...
— The Corner House Girls Growing Up - What Happened First, What Came Next. And How It Ended • Grace Brooks Hill

... her magnificence, even her general familiarity, made her the fashion. She soon declared the women's head-dresses ridiculous, as indeed they were. They were edifices of brass wire, ribbons, hair, and all sorts of tawdry rubbish more than two feet high, making women's faces seem in the middle of their bodies. The old ladies wore the same, but made of black gauze. If they moved ever so lightly the edifice trembled and the inconvenience was ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... fortunes which they lost at the gaming tables just as quickly. In the streets one rubbed elbows with denizens from every part of the solar system; many of them curiously not anthropomorphic. Glittering and painted purveyors of more tawdry and shopworn goods than mining equipment also made fortunes overnight, and some of them paid for their greedy snatching at luxury with their empty lives. Brawls were sporadic ...
— Master of the Moondog • Stanley Mullen

... arrived at the square, but the whole place was alive with earthly lights. High up to our left hung the church, outlined in fire—tawdry, I dare say, with its fairy lights of electricity, yet speaking to three-quarters of this crowd in the highest language they knew. Light, after all, is the most heavenly thing we possess. Does it matter so very much if it is decked out and arranged ...
— Lourdes • Robert Hugh Benson

... dozen pairs of hands attempted to untie the strings and to unwrap the coverings; then, across Mrs. Jones's lap there lay a tawdry dress of pale-blue silk, spotted and soiled. Pinned to it was a note in a scrawling feminine hand: "This will wash and make over nicely, I think, if you can't wear it just as ...
— The Sunbridge Girls at Six Star Ranch • Eleanor H. (Eleanor Hodgman) Porter

... tarnished spangles, to sing. In a poor little voice, feebler and shriller than the chattering of the monkeys, she sang a song about the "Grecian Bend," and enacted the same, walking round and round the stage whirling her tawdry finery. Then Anne, aged twelve, came in as a boy and joined her. Both the girls had rather pretty features, blue eyes, and tightly curling hair; both had pleasing faces; but Anne was solid and phlegmatic, ...
— Oldport Days • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... to herself, "then you know I don't like you, and you'll use me in one way, if you can't in another. Very well!" But she found the girl's trust touching somehow, though the sentimentality of her appeal seemed as tawdry ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... our houses and find that which we bought last month unapproved by the current style. If we obey the herd-instinct (and there is an intensity of stimulation on every hand for us to obey) we must gather in the new, the cheap, the tawdry, obeying the tradesmen's promptings, not our true appreciations—in clothing, house-building and furnishing—following the heavy foot-prints of the advertising ...
— Child and Country - A Book of the Younger Generation • Will Levington Comfort

... with your queenly derision, How you would disdain the belle's tawdry array! Free footsteps untrammelled, cool hand of decision, Sweet laugh like bells pealing, were yours in the day When you reigned over men by the might of your beauty; No fetters were o'er you in body or brain; The world would bow down in the gladness of duty Could you ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 22, September, 1891 • Various

... some tawdry stuff; Much of Moore I have forgotten; Parts of Tennyson are guff; Bits of Byron, too, ...
— Tobogganing On Parnassus • Franklin P. Adams

... derangement was over, he was glad to see her. Tira might not come. If she did, he could do something. He could even, at a pinch and with Tira's consent, put the knowledge of the tawdry business into Nan's hands. But she would not sit down. Plainly she had received a setback. She was refusing to accept his hospitality to any informal extent. And he saw he had hurt her. He was always reading the inner minds of people, and that was where his disastrous sympathy was forever ...
— Old Crow • Alice Brown

... show! In truth the condition of poverty of Joseph and his espoused, and the like poor condition of the shepherds who were now shortly to be used of the Lord, was the only fitting way that we should expect the Lord would have it. All the pomp and glory of earthly preparation would have been but tawdry tinsel, detracting from the glorious things that were shortly to follow. Each one of the earthly players whom Jehovah had assigned to perform a part upon this stage was humble, meek, and possessed of ...
— The Harp of God • J. F. Rutherford

... controversies, subsided into new sects; and day by day they altered more and more the once noble aspect of the ancient basilica. They hung their nauseous relics on its mighty walls, they stuck their tiny tapers about its glorious pillars, they wreathed their tawdry fringes around its massive altars. Here they polished, there they embroidered. Wherever there was a window, they curtained it with gaudy cloths; wherever there was a statue, they bedizened it with artificial flowers; wherever ...
— Antonina • Wilkie Collins

... The meaning of this word (to bedizen with tawdry finery) is plain. As it is only found here, the N.E.D. suggests it ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. II • Aphra Behn

... chairs, with my coat, waistcoat, and trousers flung on them. Then a large elbow-chair covered with dirty-white dimity, with my cravat and shirt collar thrown over the back. Then a chest of drawers with two of the brass handles off, and a tawdry, broken china inkstand placed on it by way of ornament for the top. Then the dressing-table, adorned by a very small looking-glass, and a very large pincushion. Then the window—an unusually large window. Then a dark old picture, which the feeble candle dimly showed ...
— After Dark • Wilkie Collins

... there is no form which lends itself to—which, indeed, insists upon—conventions of the most glaring unreality more than the pastoral, and none in which the decorations, unless managed with extraordinary genius, have such a tendency to be tawdry at best, draggled and withered at worst. Nevertheless, the fact remains that at almost all times, both in ancient literature and since the revival of letters, as well as in some probably more spontaneous forms during the Middle Ages themselves,[130] pastorals have been popular with ...
— A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1 - From the Beginning to 1800 • George Saintsbury

... satisfactory evening she had never spent, Mrs. Linton felt; and now the fan was hanging down among the brocaded flowers of her dress, making them look tawdry as she left the box, and noticed how at least two men were lying in wait for her party. There was, however, a frankness in Herbert Courtland's strategy which George Holland's did not possess. Mr. Courtland was looking directly at her; Mr. Holland was pretending to be engrossed ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... into the tawdry parlour and put down his hat and stick, and waited. Presently the door opened and the girl came in. She stopped open-mouthed with surprise at the sight of him, and her surprise ...
— The Green Rust • Edgar Wallace

... Spanish with fluency. His beauty was remarkable; his personal fascinations acknowledged by either sex; but as a commander of men, excepting upon the battle-field, he possessed little genius. His ambition was the ambition of a knight-errant, an adventurer, a Norman pirate; it was a personal and tawdry ambition. Vague and contradictory dreams of crowns, of royal marriages, of extemporized dynasties, floated ever before him; but he was himself always the hero of his own romance. He sought a throne in Africa or in Britain; he dreamed of espousing Mary of Scotland at the expense of Elizabeth, ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... which had disfigured its mighty beams and solid panelling, had been removed; and the freshly polished oak shone forth in its noble age, shorn of all tawdry disguise. ...
— Peter's Mother • Mrs. Henry De La Pasture

... food for himself. While it was being brought he sat down in the very chair that he had used so often—for he had been ushered into his old parlor—and gazed about him. There were the same tawdry ornaments on the mantel-piece, and the same books on the dusty shelf. Nothing was altered except the tenant of that room; but how great a change had taken place in him! What a face the dingy ...
— Bred in the Bone • James Payn

... Power, place—these are the things that strong men covet. That is what the game of politics means for strong men—that is why we fight so bitterly for office. I plan for myself some greater office than second fiddle in this tawdry republic along the Atlantic. I want the first place, and in a greater field! I will take my friends with me. I want men who can lead other men. I want men like ...
— The Magnificent Adventure - Being the Story of the World's Greatest Exploration and - the Romance of a Very Gallant Gentleman • Emerson Hough

... Quixote and Moliere, in Spanish and French, and luxuriantly bound copies of Juvenal and Persius and Cicero, nothing is read now but Longfellow and Hall Caine and Miss Corelli. Where good and roomy houses were built a hundred years ago, poor and tawdry houses are built now; and bad bookbinding, bad pictures, and bad decorations are thought well of, where rich bindings, beautiful miniatures, and finely-carved chimney-pieces were once prized by ...
— In Wicklow and West Kerry • John M. Synge

... to arrange themselves; hearing which, she thrust the billets behind her stomacher, and hastened to the great court, where, on a platform supported by four wheels, was builded a sort of hut, decorated in a tawdry and fanciful style, and yeleped "The ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... proportion to their transactions, was well filled, neat, and tastefully fitted up. There was no show, however—no empty glare to catch the eye; on the contrary, the whole concern was marked by an air of solid, warm comfort, that was much more indicative of wealth and independence than tawdry embellishment ...
— Phil Purcel, The Pig-Driver; The Geography Of An Irish Oath; The Lianhan Shee • William Carleton

... thousand times more pleased with my own. I have been at mass, at church, and at the presbyterian meeting: an idea struck me at the last, in regard to the drapery of them all; that the Romish religion is like an over-dressed, tawdry, rich citizen's wife; the presbyterian like a rude aukward country girl; the church of England like an elegant well-dressed woman of quality, "plain in her neatness" (to quote Horace, who is my favorite author). There is a noble, graceful simplicity both in the worship and ...
— The History of Emily Montague • Frances Brooke

... so busy with private affairs here, owing to the rapid growth of the city," pursued Mrs. Taylor, "that there is danger of our doing inconsiderately things which cannot easily be set right hereafter. An ugly or tawdry-looking building may be an eyesore for a generation. I know that we have honest and skilful mechanics in Benham, but as trustees of the church funds, shouldn't we at least make the effort to get ...
— Unleavened Bread • Robert Grant

... of Cultur. Merely as a University where Herbert Spencer may be studied in the tongue of the Psalmist. All the rest is bourgeois Zionism. Political Zionism? Economic Zionism? Pah! Mere tawdry imitations of ...
— Ghetto Comedies • Israel Zangwill

... Sacred vessels, for cooking and washing, were stowed away out of reach of defilement. Above his bed the simple-hearted soldier had nailed a crude coloured print of the Kaiser-i-Hind in robes and crown; and on the opposing wall hung a tawdry looking-glass, almost as dear ...
— Captain Desmond, V.C. • Maud Diver

... candles, promenaded the principal streets of the vicinity. But the religious feeling of the truly devoted was shocked by one ridiculous feature—the mob of native men, dressed in gowns and head-wreaths, in representation of the Jews who persecuted our Saviour, rushing about the streets in tawdry attire before and after the ceremony in such apparent ignorance of the real intention that it annulled the sublimity of ...
— The Philippine Islands • John Foreman

... with which he spoke surprised Westray. Could it be that Mr Sharnall had motives other than mere kindness? Could it be that the picture was valuable after all? He walked across the room to look closer at the tawdry flowers and the caterpillar. No, it could not be that; the painting was absolutely worthless. Mr Sharnall had followed him, and they stood side by side looking out of the window. Westray was passing through a very brief interval of indecision. His emotional and perhaps better feelings ...
— The Nebuly Coat • John Meade Falkner

... proceeded straight to the bar, where I discovered my acquaintance of the previous evening, in curl papers, assiduously dusting shelves and counter. There was a fragrance of the last night's potations still hovering about the place, which had the dreary, tawdry appearance that was so different to the glamour of the previous night. I bade the girl good-morning, and then inquired whether she had seen anything of my friend. At first she did not appear to recognize me, but on doing so she volunteered to go off and make inquiries. ...
— My Strangest Case • Guy Boothby

... log barriers that our eyes encountered scenes of the greatest interest,—a mingling of tawdry decoration and wild savagery, where fierce denizens of forest and ...
— When Wilderness Was King - A Tale of the Illinois Country • Randall Parrish

... pride or ostentation of the Italians in general takes a more laudable turn than that of other nations. A Frenchman lays out his whole revenue upon tawdry suits of cloaths, or in furnishing a magnificent repas of fifty or a hundred dishes, one half of which are not eatable nor intended to be eaten. His wardrobe goes to the fripier; his dishes to the dogs, and himself to the devil, and after his decease no vestige of him ...
— Travels Through France and Italy • Tobias Smollett

... splendor, a great mingling of the fine and the tawdry, as was inevitable in a society that maintained slavery on a large scale. Nearly all the carriages had been brought from London, and they were of the best. When their owners drove forth in the streets or the country roundabout they were escorted by black coachmen and footmen in livery. ...
— The Shadow of the North - A Story of Old New York and a Lost Campaign • Joseph A. Altsheler

... right. In order to carry out properly such a plan as this the writer should take Defoe as his model, or, still better, Dean Swift. Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe show what can be done in this way, and form a standard by which all other attempts must be judged. But this writer is tawdry; he has the worst vices of the sensational school—he shows everywhere marks of haste, gross carelessness, and universal feebleness. When he gets hold of a good fancy, he lacks the patience that is necessary in order to work it up in an ...
— A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder • James De Mille

... my impression was not so much disillusionment concerning all things theatrical as realisation of my worst forebodings. In that one moment all glamour connected with the stage fell from me, nor has it since ever returned to me. From the tawdry decorations of the auditorium to the childish make-belief littered around on the stage, I saw the Theatre a painted thing of shreds and patches—the grown child's doll's-house. The Drama may improve us, elevate us, interest and teach us. I am sure it does; long may it flourish! But ...
— Paul Kelver • Jerome Klapka, AKA Jerome K. Jerome

... Elimination wrought the miracle; yonder they sleep, innocent as the Graces, with all the windows open, clothed in moonlight or starlight, as the astronomical conditions may be. At the break of dawn they are afield, simply clothed, free limbed, unhampered by the tawdry harness of degenerate civilization. And as they wander through the verdure," he added with rapt enthusiasm, "plucking shy blossoms, gathering simples and herbs and vegetables for our bountiful and natural repast, they sing as they go, and every tremulous thrill of melody falls ...
— Iole • Robert W. Chambers

... been bright and stylish. Her appearance, apart from her dress, was far from attractive; her lean face had dull red blotches upon it, her eyes looked wild and shining, and her gray hair straggled out from her tawdry bonnet. It scarcely needed the evidence of a strong smell of spirits to prove that she ...
— Up in Ardmuirland • Michael Barrett

... some of the theatrical frescoes in the "Chapel of the Eucharist," and a misguided personage named Orsel, splashed out the gaudy decorations of the "Chapel of the Virgin." The whole edifice glares at the spectator like a badly-managed limelight, and the tricky, glittering, tawdry effect blisters one's very soul. But here may be seen many little select groups out of the hell of Paris,—fresh from the burning as it were, and smelling of the brimstone,—demons who enjoy their demonism,—satyrs, concerning whom, one feels that their polished boots are cleverly designed ...
— The Master-Christian • Marie Corelli

... say the same. Neither full procession, nor high mass, nor swarming tapers, nor swinging censers, nor ecclesiastical millinery, nor celestial jewellery, touched my imagination a whit. What I saw struck me as tawdry, not grand; as grossly material, not ...
— Villette • Charlotte Bronte

... turning discovered him fondling around the captive Chief, who seemed equally pleased with him; at the same time be caught the ill-omened look of Black Snake, distorting his face with rage, jealousy and revenge, as it glowed from beneath his tawdry plume of many colors. Hastening his daughter along, who was quickly followed by the wolf as she gave a peculiar call, they ...
— Birch Bark Legends of Niagara • Owahyah

... uttermost its privilege of imperial precedency, and astonished weak minds by the feudal powers which I hinted to be lurking constructively in the charters of this proud establishment. Once I remember being on the box of the Holyhead mail, between Shrewsbury and Oswestry, when a tawdry thing from Birmingham, some Tallyho or Highflier, all flaunting with green and gold, came up alongside of us. What a contrast to our royal simplicity of form and color is this plebeian wretch! The single ornament on our dark ground of chocolate color was the mighty shield of the imperial ...
— Miscellaneous Essays • Thomas de Quincey

... bitter. Back of them her busy young mind was weaving a new warp of life, with all of America for its loom. Hope that had died lived again. Before her already lay that great country where women might labor and live by the fruit of their labor, where her tawdry past would be buried in the center of distant Europe. New life beckoned to the little Marie that night in the old salon of Maria Theresa, beckoned to her as it called to Stewart, opportunity to one, love and work ...
— The Street of Seven Stars • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... commonwealth and united hearts with as much contempt for danger as Don John had exhibited in scenes of slave driving and carnage. Amid fields of blood, and through web's of tortuous intrigue, the brave and subtle son of the Emperor pursued only his own objects. Tawdry schemes of personal ambition, conquests for his own benefit, impossible crowns for his own wearing, were the motives which impelled, him, and the prizes which he sought. His existence was feverish, fitful, and passionate. "Tranquil amid the raging billows," according to his favorite ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... inclination carried, that even the hellish yoke of slavery cannot stifle the savage desire of admiration which the black heroes inherit from both their parents, for all the hardly-earned savings of a slave are commonly expended in a little tawdry finery. And I have seldom known a good male or female servant that was not particularly fond of dress. Their clothes were their riches; and I argue from analogy, that the fondness for dress, so extravagant in females, ...
— A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Title: Vindication of the Rights of Women • Mary Wollstonecraft [Godwin]

... you send me out the programme of the coming Promenade Concert season? I would give anything to hear Wagner and Beethoven once more. My allegiance to these giants, as to Shakespeare and Milton, grows stronger every day. The appalling tawdry trash that passes for music nowadays, and the degradation of art and literature which seems to be the feature of the twentieth century, intensify my loyalty to great musicians and noble writers. What is the cause of this decadence? ...
— War Letters of a Public-School Boy • Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones

... of Indiana; and it was attached to the East District of Texas for the purposes of jurisdiction. Congressman Springer held up this bill for a time, using it as a club for the passage of a measure of his own upon which he was intent. Thus, it may be seen that the tawdry little tragedy in that land which indeed was 'No Man's Land' in time attained ...
— The Story of the Outlaw - A Study of the Western Desperado • Emerson Hough

... you will find between these pages entitled, "Her Voice." "Don't, oh! don't! Oh! for God's sake don't!" sobbed and shrieked that poor wanderer as she threw herself upon me and buried her head, with its tawdry covering and matted mop of ...
— Fifteen Years With The Outcast • Mrs. Florence (Mother) Roberts

... and calls for the tawdry curtain to rise, when a gentleman entered, sauntered up to a front seat, took up a bill and began to read it—a tall, middle-aged, rather distinguished-looking man, black and bearded, with piercing eyes, superfine clothes, and a general ...
— The Unseen Bridgegroom - or, Wedded For a Week • May Agnes Fleming

... bare rooms, the scanty shabby furniture of the Georgian era, the patches and glimpses of faded splendour here and there, the Bond-street prettinesses and fripperies in her mother's boudoir, which, even in her early girlhood, had grown tawdry and rococo, the old pictures rotting in their tarnished frames; everything with that sordid air of poverty ...
— The Lovels of Arden • M. E. Braddon

... into fussy opulence. He wrote for the rabble, and he who writes for the rabble has a ticket to Limbus one way. The Rossettis made their appeal to the Elect Few. Dickens was sired by Wilkins Micawber and dammed by Mrs. Nickleby. He wallowed in the cheap and tawdry, and the gospel of sterling simplicity was absolutely outside his orbit. Dickens knew no more about art than did the prosperous beefeater, who, being partial to the hard sound of the letter, asked Rossetti for a copy of "The Gurm," and thus supplied ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers • Elbert Hubbard

... or a dozen places with paper. At dinner they give you three courses; but a third of the dishes is patched up with salads, butter, puff-paste, or some such miscarriage of a dish. None, but Germans, wear fine clothes; but their coaches are tawdry enough for the wedding of Cupid and Psyche. You would laugh extremely at their signs: some live at the Y grec, some at Venus's toilette, and some at the sucking cat. You would not easily guess their notions of honour: I'll tell you one: ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole - Volume I • Horace Walpole

... excellence. Woodhouse wanted a gently graduated progress in mediocrity, a mediocrity so stale and flat that it fell outside the imagination of any sensitive mortal. Woodhouse wanted a series of vulgar little thrills, as one tawdry mediocrity was imported from Nottingham or Birmingham to take the place of some tawdry mediocrity which Nottingham and Birmingham had already discarded. That Woodhouse, as a very condition of its own being, hated any approach to originality or real taste, this James Houghton could never learn. ...
— The Lost Girl • D. H. Lawrence

... Slavery, and takes part with the aristocrat, as against the lowly. The same spirit runs through all his writings. He has a range of about three notes: a flunkeyish koo-tooing to soap-bubble eminence; a tawdry sympathy with aristocratic woe; and a drivelling contempt for angular Poor Relations, in bombazine gowns. Bombazine, by-the-way, is a cheap, carpetty-looking fabric, built of shoddy, and generally ...
— Such is Life • Joseph Furphy

... aristocracy, a love of distinction, among the lowest dregs of society, as there is also a love of plush and other insignificant tawdry among our more wealthy republicans. Few would have thought of one inebriate affecting superiority over another, (the vote-cribber was an inebriate, as we shall show,) but ...
— Justice in the By-Ways - A Tale of Life • F. Colburn Adams

... painter of Varallo chose a safer though a far more modest theme. Nor did he expose himself to that most cruel of all degradations which the ethereal genius of Correggio has suffered from incompetent imitators. To daub a tawdry and superficial reproduction of those Parmese frescoes, to fill the cupolas of Italy with veritable guazzetti di rane, was comparatively easy; and between our intelligence and what remains of that stupendous masterpiece of boldness, crowd a thousand memories of ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece • John Addington Symonds

... Blessed Virgin figured more or less prominently, I took it that the legitimate occupant of the place was a Roman Catholic. The furniture was of the simplest kind, consisting of a table in the centre,—upon which burned the cheap, tawdry, brass lamp that illumined the apartment,—a large, upturned packing-case, covered with a gaudy tablecloth, and serving as a table against the rear wall of the building, and three or four old, straight- backed chairs, that had evidently come down in the world, for ...
— A Pirate of the Caribbees • Harry Collingwood

... nosing about in America, reminding him of all the things that he wanted to forget? The odor of her sachet annoyed him. A bath and boudoir! He realized now that she had always annoyed him with her pretty silly little affectations and her tawdry smatterings of the things that were worth while. He owed her nothing. He had made love to her, of course, because that was what a woman of her type expected from men of his. But there had been no damage done on either side, for he had not believed that ...
— The Vagrant Duke • George Gibbs

... excitement of the moment, Harry could not help looking at the building with its tawdry and crumbling columns, and in doing so espied a half dozen peculiarly garbed Illyas rushing out and attempting to escape to the north along ...
— The Wonder Island Boys: Conquest of the Savages • Roger Thompson Finlay

... purer than is the case with his models, it is in large measure due to his failure to master the style; if his conception of virtue is more wholesome, his picture of it is at times marred by exaggeration, while his sentiment for innocence is of a watery kind, and occasionally a little tawdry. His pathos, as is the case with all weak writers, constantly trembles on the verge of bathos, while his lack of humour betrays him into penning passages of elaborate fatuity. His style is formal and often stilted, his verse often monotonous ...
— Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama - A Literary Inquiry, with Special Reference to the Pre-Restoration - Stage in England • Walter W. Greg

... road, and the sounds of a farm hand whetting his scythe. Through a rift in the trees appeared a patch of delicate blue sky and the edge of a rosy cloud. Mrs. LeMasters came to the wistful end of an alluring and musty reminiscence and gazed regretfully at the tawdry beauties of the present. Then she turned her eyes upon Joe, and with a sigh that was sodden with romance: "How could you ever bear to leave that ...
— Stubble • George Looms

... dreadful three. But more than this. The drunken man takes much longer over the sex-act, thereby prolonging the risk of disease, and he runs risks which he would rule out instantly if the fumes of alcohol had not changed the tawdry girl into the glittering fairy. Worse than all, he neglects to apply disinfection properly and promptly—he falls asleep or forgets all about it till too late. Men who are determined to have a "night out" should ...
— Safe Marriage - A Return to Sanity • Ettie A. Rout

... Boyce watched these tawdry makeshifts at sociability with bitterness and loathing. He wondered how he could have been such a fool as to bring his exquisite Babette to this neighborhood. How could he expect that she would return to him? It ...
— The Shape of Fear • Elia W. Peattie

... back door, offering to spae fortunes. She was tall and thin, an unco witch-looking creature, with a runkled brow, sunburnt haffits, and two sharp piercing eyes, like a hawk's, whose glance went through ye like the cut and thrust of a two- edged sword. On her head she had a tawdry brownish black bonnet, that had not improved from two three years' tholing of sun and wind; a thin rag of a grey duffle mantle was thrown over her shoulders, below which was a checked shortgown of gingham stripe, and a green glazed manco petticoat. Her shoon ...
— The Life of Mansie Wauch - Tailor in Dalkeith, written by himself • David Macbeth Moir

... them to take the hint. She sought them out instead. There followed seven tawdry, hard-working, heartbreaking years. Supe, walk-on, stock, musical comedy—Josie went through them all. If any illusions about the stage had survived her Wapello days, they would have vanished in the first six months of her dramatic career. By the time she was twenty-four she had ...
— Cheerful—By Request • Edna Ferber

... them, most always with a canary or a linnet at the curtained window and at least one cat or dog or maybe both. This type is the progenitor of our stage acrobat, it is the primitive stage of these old-time troubadours, and it is still prevalent in times of peace in France. The strong man gotten in tawdry pink tights and much worn black velvet with his very elaborate and drawn out speeches, in delicate French, concerning the marvels of his art and the long wait for the stipulated number of dix centimes ...
— Adventures in the Arts - Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets • Marsden Hartley

... years of age; like a rustic who has suddenly been carried out of the dullness and darkness of his village into some tawdry cafe of the town, and is dazzled and mistakes the gilt wood for solid gold, so had Wagner been filled with admiration by Meyerbeer's brilliant shoddy. It must be admitted that for sheer theatricalism that gentleman beat any composer who preceded ...
— Richard Wagner - Composer of Operas • John F. Runciman

... any day have to pass sentence on one whom he believes to be innocent. He lays himself under the obligation of administering a law which he may know to be bad on any occasion when called upon, merely because it is a law. He makes this surrender of humanity and honour for what? For filthy lucre and tawdry notoriety. Now, I ask, can we conceive a more abjectly contemptible character than that ...
— British Socialism - An Examination of Its Doctrines, Policy, Aims and Practical Proposals • J. Ellis Barker

... the ordinary appearance of modern places of amusement for the people. It was brilliant with false richness and tawdry splendor. There were paintings there, and tables at which wine was sold, gilded chandeliers and glasses that held a quartern of brandy, velvet hangings and wooden benches, the shabbiness and rusticity of an ale-house with the ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... speaking when she was spoken to but without any of her characteristic freshness and boldness. She was the schoolgirl that Clowes expected her to be. Her very dress irritated Lawrence, as if he had seen a fine painting in a tawdry frame, or a pearl of price foiled by a spurious setting. He had not felt any glow at all, and was left to suppose his fancy had played him a trick. Disappointing! and now there was no chance of revising ...
— Nightfall • Anthony Pryde

... one of a row of tawdry modern buildings, the lower floors of which were utilized as shops—an undistinguished sort of place, in an undistinguished street. They climbed upstairs and wandered through two or three rooms, all alike save that one of them had a balcony; square, white-washed rooms, not very clean, and ...
— South Wind • Norman Douglas

... holy purity of his imagination, the delicate strength of his fancy, are not to be discovered in the few pictures that bear his name at Manchester. His pictures are to be fairly seen only at Venice, where, in out-of-the-way churches, over tawdry altars, his colors gleam undimmed by time, and the faces of his Virgins look down with a still celestial sweetness. But there is one picture here, by a Venetian contemporary of John Bellini, before which ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... whole district. The people crowd around him, losing all sense of manly dignity or mental degradation in the anxiety for gain. Skinny shrivelled hands touch his clothes in the hope of arresting his progress; worn-out tawdry finery is thrust before him, in the hope of tempting him to purchase. No shop, or rather store, is devoted to any particular object of gain. Butter, dates, olives, broken and pawned articles, are mixed up in the most absurd confusion. With brocaded ...
— The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 3, February, 1851 • Various

... the tawdry arts she tries, The tint of cheek, the gold of hair, To mimic nature for the eyes Of those who scorn her paltry care, And spurn those charms—if aught abide Within her beauty's narrowed scope— Now touched with less a wanton's pride Than with an ...
— Pan and Aeolus: Poems • Charles Hamilton Musgrove

... the pattern for us. That thought is not a subject to be decorated with tawdry finery of eloquence, or to be dealt with as if it were a sentimental prettiness very fit to be spoken of, but impossible to be practised. It is the duty of every Christian man and woman, and they have not done their duty unless they have learned that ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Ephesians; Epistles of St. Peter and St. John • Alexander Maclaren

... or native of the New England States, with whom I engaged for bed and board for eight dollars per week, I sallied forth to make my intended observations, preparatory to leaving for the west. Everything wore a novel aspect. The number of foreigners seen in the thoroughfares, the tawdry flimsily-built carriages, which strangely contrast with the more substantial ones seen in England, and the dresses of the people, all seemed strange to me. The habiliments of one or two in particular rivetted my attention. The first was a Kentuckian, who was dressed in a ...
— An Englishman's Travels in America - His Observations Of Life And Manners In The Free And Slave States • John Benwell

... of the other confessions (except one), tinsel or tawdry fragments from the drift-wood of life, that were offered blithely by three or four members of the gay company. We are concerned with Penelope's confession, and with this only as it leads up to subsequent developments of the evening. There was an ominous significance in the fact that Mrs. Wells ...
— Possessed • Cleveland Moffett

... creations which awaken a sympathetic throb of tenderness; nor in those stern, motionless types,—which embody a dogma; not in the classic features of marble goddesses, borrowed as models; nor in the painted images which stare upon us from tawdry altars in flaxen wigs ...
— Legends of the Madonna • Mrs. Jameson

... black cut-away coat, snuff-coloured trousers, and high-crowned felt hat with its ornamental band. This receded to the back of his head as he grew hotter. The harp was slung from his shoulder, the gilding looking tawdry in the open day. Twice during the walk, once in a round clearing fringed with birches, and once in a pine-glade, he stopped, put the harp down and played, sitting on a felled tree. Hazel, quite intoxicated with excitement, danced between the slender boles till her hair ...
— Gone to Earth • Mary Webb

... home to Harvey D. Merle, heading his valiant little band of thinkers, would light a pure white flame to flush America's spiritual darkness. He would be a vital influence, teaching men and women to cultivate life for its own sake. For the cheap and tawdry extravagance of our national boasting he would substitute a chastening knowledge of our spiritual inferiority to the older nations. America was uncreative; he would release and nurse its raw creative intelligence till ...
— The Wrong Twin • Harry Leon Wilson

... season we fix fresh millinery upon her changeless head. We hang around her robes of woven words. Only the promise of her ample breasts we cannot altogether hide, shocking us not a little; only that remains to tell us that beneath the tawdry tissues still stands the changeless statue God carved ...
— Tea-table Talk • Jerome K. Jerome

... the ladies sat with their backs to the door—I began to dream again, I began to sink again into folly, that was half-pleasure, half-pain. The fury of the gaming-house and the riot of Zaton's seemed far away. The triumphs of the fencing-room—even they grew cheap and tawdry. I thought of existence as one outside it, I balanced this against that, and wondered whether, after all, the red soutane were so much better than the homely jerkin, or the fame of a day ...
— Under the Red Robe • Stanley Weyman

... to form an earthly Paradise, and where the surrounding mountain-scenery is unsurpassed on the earth's surface, we might look for enlarged notions of the power, the majesty, and wisdom of that God who created it all. But images, like dolls, tricked out in the tawdry finery, are the objects which this people adore, and to whom they attribute more miraculous powers than were ever ascribed to the gods of their heathen ancestors. Humboldt says, "This people have changed their ceremonies, but not their ...
— Mexico and its Religion • Robert A. Wilson

... done naught but wonder and stare. The trip had been a great delight, but she had never desired to linger or to dwell there. Certain sordid effects came over her; reminiscences of the muddy streets, the tawdry shops, ...
— The Mystery of Witch-Face Mountain and Other Stories • Charles Egbert Craddock

... are going to act this play without any special preparations. Truth looks tawdry when ...
— The Cycle of Spring • Rabindranath Tagore

... conduct of my kind Irishman, I took my place in the gallery to hear compline and Salve Regina, with which the Cistercians bring every day to a conclusion. There were none of those circumstances which strike the Protestant as childish or as tawdry in the public offices of Rome. A stern simplicity, heightened by the romance of the surroundings, spoke directly to the heart. I recall the whitewashed chapel, the hooded figures in the choir, the lights alternately occluded and revealed, the strong manly singing, the silence that ensued, ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 1 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... place the other day, did not present an agreeable spectacle. Brougham, who had thrust himself in among the party, was pitched upon, as having the best gift of the gab, to propose the Duke's health, which he did in a very tawdry speech, stuffed with claptraps and commonplaces. It was a piece of bad taste to select Brougham (who had nothing to do with Dover) for the performance of this office, which would have been more appropriately discharged by the local authority in the ...
— The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) - A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852 - (Volume 1 of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... across the garden. From the steep street on the other side of the wall rose the thin voice of a girl, singing a song of the mountains, with a sad note of ancient woe, and farther away in the city sounded the hoarse call of a pedler.... This was not the Rome of the antiquary, not the tawdry Rome of the tourist. It was the Rome of sunshine and color and music, the Rome of joy, of youth! And the young man, leaning there over the iron railing, his eyes wandering up and down the city at his feet, drank deep of the blessed draught,—the beauty and the joy of ...
— Together • Robert Herrick (1868-1938)

... Then a tawdry banner was lowered suddenly between two poles, but not before Miss Torrance had seen part of the blazoned legend. Its unvarnished forcefulness brought a flush to ...
— The Cattle-Baron's Daughter • Harold Bindloss



Words linked to "Tawdry" :   brassy, loud, shoddy, flashy, tatty, tasteless, gimcrack, cheap, gaudy, meretricious, cheapjack, garish



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