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tawdry


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St Etheldreda (d. 679)

 
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Showy but cheap and of poor quality. Recorded from the early 17th century, the word is short for tawdry lace, a fine silk lace or ribbon worn as a necklace in the 16th–17th cents, contraction of St Audrey's lace: Audrey was a later form of St Etheldreda (died 679), patron saint of Ely where tawdry laces, along with cheap imitations and other cheap finery, were traditionally sold at a fair.


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