A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Gewgaw (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 897

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 897

Géwgaw. n.s. [ʒeʒaf, Saxon; joyau, French.] A showy trifle; a toy; a bauble; a splendid plaything.

That metal they exchanged for the meanest trifles and gewgaws which the others could bring. Abbot's Desc. of the World.

Prefer that which providence has pronounced to be the staff of life, before a glittering gewgaw that has no other value than what vanity has set upon it. L'Estrange, Fable 1.

As children, when they throw one toy away,
Straight a more foolish gewgaw comes in play.

A heavy gewgaw, call'd a crown, that spread
About his temples, drown'd his narrow head,
And would have crush'd it.
Dryden's Juvenal, Sat. 10.

                Some loose the bands
Of ancient friendship, cancel nature's laws
For pageantry and tawdry gewgaws.

The first images were fans, silks, ribbands, laces, and many other gewgaws, which lay so thick that the whole heart was nothing else but a toyshop. Addison's Guard.

Sources: Abbot, George (11) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Dryden, John (788) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Philips, John (42)

Attributes: French (385) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Gewgaw (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 25, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/gewgaw-noun/.

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