schmaltz

noun

ˈshmȯlts How to pronounce schmaltz (audio)
ˈshmälts
variants or less commonly schmalz
1
: extremely or excessively sentimental music or art
" … It's not showbiz schmaltz; it's a story about the battle to overcome hardship. … " Elton John
A lot of people make fun of this show, pegging it as pure schmaltz. ReadWriteWeb (online)
"Doin' It" is both ridiculous schmaltz and a luscious rap song that sounds like a 5:45 p.m. sunset over Gotham City. Pete Tosiello
2
: sentimentality sense 1
There is a hint of schmaltz, in the best possible sense—an unabashed emotionalism that puts meat on the bones of the music without violating its essential spirit. Louise T. Guinthe
… the arrangements balanced smoky jazz and soft pop without turning to abstraction or schmaltz. Rolling Stone (online)
Steven Moffat has written a heart-warming drama, free of schmaltz and sentiment … Patrick Mulkern
A sprinkling of schmaltz is expected—nay, needed—in an emotional extravaganza like this, and you couldn't put together a better cast … Brian Truitt
3
: rendered animal fat and especially chicken fat
When it's properly made, schmaltz has a brawny, roasted character that comes from the bits of poultry skin that brown in the pan. Melissa Clark
"Schmaltz is a basic tenet of Jewish culture. In the real kosher home you couldn't use butter if you were eating meat, so you had schmaltz." Stan Zimmerman
There's also the schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) vs. vegetable oil debate. Tastier matzo balls are made with schmaltz. John Kessler
schmaltzy
ˈshmȯlt-sē How to pronounce schmaltz (audio)
ˈshmält-
adjective
… if Mr. [Victor] Young's scores for The Uninvited, Love Letters, and My Foolish Heart are schmaltz, then my musical taste is unabashedly schmaltzy. Andrew Sarris

Example Sentences

The movie has too much schmaltz for me. the love song was a typical example of overproduced schmaltz
Recent Examples on the Web The celebratory mood in the closing-credits sequence looks like actual fun, for characters and cast alike, ending this trip down the aisle on the upbeat and keeping the schmaltz to a minimum. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 June 2022 Plopped into the middle is a dense, lumpy matzo ball studded with dill and fattened with schmaltz. Jenn Harriscolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2022 The schmaltz is applied with a trowel in depicting his relationship with the briskly efficient Marge, who admires her husband’s brain but has lately been craving a little more romance. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 June 2022 Starker never wanted a moment of schmaltz, and Sebők never wanted to show off. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 6 Apr. 2022 Other than a forest fire, Audrey Hepburn as an angel and a golden schmaltz that might be Spielberg’s most egregious case of phoning it in. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, 24 Mar. 2022 Reviewers in Dickens’s time generally did not complain about what modern readers find hard to process: the melodrama, the rhetorical overkill, the staggering load of schmaltz. The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2022 It is rendered just so by a particular butcher, such that Ms. Rodsky’s mother-in-law swears by his schmaltz. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 Just as Evan covers trauma with a new trauma, so does this glossily made, blandly designed 137-minute movie cover trauma with schmaltz. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, 24 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'schmaltz.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Yiddish shmalts, literally, rendered fat

First Known Use

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of schmaltz was in 1850

Dictionary Entries Near schmaltz

Cite this Entry

“Schmaltz.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schmaltz. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

schmaltz

noun

variants also schmalz
: sentimental music or art
schmaltzy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on schmaltz

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ