Friday, October 17, 2014

Word of the day: Tawdry

Contraction of St. Audrey's lace, with reference to Saint Audrey or Æthelthryth/Æðelþryð (died 679), an Anglo-Saxon saint in whose honour a fair was held.
The common version of Æthelthryth's name was St. Awdrey, which is the origin of the word tawdry, which derived from the fact that her admirers bought modestly concealing lace goods at an annual fair held in her name in Ely. By the 17th century, this lacework had become seen as old-fashioned, or cheap and of poor quality, at a time when the Puritans of eastern England looked down on any form of lacy dressiness.

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