: something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality
: a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition
teetering on the brink of kitschRon Miller
kitschy adjective

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Kitsch is an early 20th-century borrowing from German, and it refers to things in the realm of popular culture that are tacky, like car mirror dice, plastic flamingos, and dashboard hula dancers.

Examples of kitsch in a Sentence

The restaurant is decorated with 1950s furniture and kitsch from old TV shows.
Recent Examples on the Web Unafraid of a little kitsch, Long Beach officials suggested the islands should be modeled after tropical islands in the South Pacific — an idea that landscape architect Joseph Linesch mercifully vetoed. Chris Stanton, Curbed, 28 Aug. 2023 With its mix of kitsch Americana, natural Puerto Rican imagery and quotidian objects, El Chandelier establishes a dialogue between what different cultures regard as art and serves as a vivid embodiment of Osorio’s artistic philosophy. Mayra Santos-Febres, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 July 2023 Many still come to walk the coastal promenade, dip in the sea, eat ice cream, and soak up the kitsch of an English seaside town: rock candy, joke postcards, silly hats. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 July 2023 Broken pieces of mosaic tiles line the property, breakfast is served under a shaded veranda overlooking the island, and each of the six small rooms is artfully designed with the perfect amalgam of kitsch and retro glamour. Monica Mendal, Vogue, 3 Aug. 2023 This was just a fantasy world of kitsch and camp, dreamed up by a guy who came up with a character during an improv exercise and, with a little bit of tweaking, turned him into a pop cultural icon. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 31 July 2023 South Dakota exemplifies the relationship between the odd—distinctly American—bedfellows of kitsch and transcendence. Betsy Andrews, Condé Nast Traveler, 24 July 2023 But fans of kitsch will also love its retro metallic finish that comes in various colors to look fantastic in any kitchen. Stacey Ritzen, Popular Science, 19 July 2023 Any exaggeration turns this piece into kitsch; even the brassy conclusion, under Muti’s baton, is shockingly elegant and clear. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 17 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kitsch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of kitsch was in 1921


Dictionary Entries Near kitsch

Cite this Entry

“Kitsch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

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