Where does the word “Gewgaw” come from and What does Gewgaw mean?

Probably the term Gewgaw for a gaudy ornament of little value was originally nothing more than a contemptuous duplication of nonsensical sounds, such as shilly-shally, fiddle-daddle, and many others.

No definite source has yet been found for the term, but it is very old.

Though then spelled giuegoue, it appears in the text of Ancren Riwle (Rule of Anchoresses) written in the first quarter of the thirteenth century.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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