Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saint Audrey's Laces

Cheap and showy, gaudy, sleazy. These are hardly words to describe a Saint. Yet, the adjectives are used by Webster's to define "tawdry," a word with saintly connotation.
"Tawdry" refers to Saint Audrey, who traded a queen's throne - and a penchant for exquisite necklaces - for the nun's humble habit and veil. 
At her feast day fairs in Norwich England, brightly colored ribbons and necklaces were sold to remind the faithful of the splendor surrendered by the Saint in the name of God.
At first well-made and elegant, "Saint Audrey's laces" were soon being produced fast and cheap, sacrificing quality and artistry along the way.
Meanwhile, the phrase "Saint Audrey's laces" was being carelessly slurred into the contraction "tawdries" or "tawdry" which has come to mean anything flashy or tasteless.

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