\ ˈshmȯlts How to pronounce schmaltz (audio) , ˈshmälts\
variants: or less commonly schmalz

Definition of schmaltz

1 : sentimental or florid music or art

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from schmaltz

schmaltzy \ ˈshmȯlt-​sē How to pronounce schmaltzy (audio) , ˈshmält-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for schmaltz


corn, goo, mush, sludge, slush, soap opera, sorghum

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of schmaltz in a Sentence

The movie has too much schmaltz for me. the love song was a typical example of overproduced schmaltz

Recent Examples on the Web

Slow-Roast Gochujang Chicken, which cooks on a bed of little potatoes that soak up all that hot-sweet schmaltz. Christina Chaey, Bon Appétit, "What is Gochujang, The Little Red Tub We Keep in Arm's Reach?," 10 Sep. 2019 The solemnity of the mentions of Perry in the premiere is forced schmaltz or even worse. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'BH90210': TV Review," 7 Aug. 2019 Less compelling are the older versions of Allie and Noah played by Gena Rowlands (Cassavetes’ mother) and James Garner, whose presence adds more schmaltz than any narrative framing device ought to. Anne Cohen,, "Did Nicholas Sparks Kill The Notebook? Or, Was It Always Doomed?," 25 June 2019 In The Dead Don’t Die, Jarmusch’s hipster sense of brotherhood is an assertion of perpetual liberal schmaltz. Armond White, National Review, "The Dead Don’t Die: Climate-Change Comedy for the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Era," 14 June 2019 This story is being told by the older Elena, after all, and the whole tale has a filter of nostalgia that retains just enough skepticism to avoid curdling into schmaltz. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s My Brilliant Friend adaptation is a knockout," 18 Nov. 2018 The final Brahms sonata got an immaculate performance by violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley, admirably partnered by Max Levinson at the piano, though a little more of Brahms’ lilt and schmaltz would not have gone amiss. Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Chamber Music Society debuts an ear-boggling piece by a ‘Dark Knight’ composer," 17 July 2018 The frankness of Farber's script makes for explosive drama as well as overzealous schmaltz more melodramatic than Strindberg's original. Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader, "Mies Julie depicts a postapartheid South Africa still mired in its legacy of colonialism and racism," 6 June 2018 But Reverie’s pilot turns the idea toward optimism and earnest schmaltz — with extremely dull results. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "NBC’s new VR thriller Reverie is a schmaltzy take on techno-dystopia," 30 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of schmaltz

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for schmaltz

Yiddish shmalts, literally, rendered fat

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for schmaltz



English Language Learners Definition of schmaltz

informal + disapproving : music, art, etc., that is very sad or romantic in usually a foolish or exaggerated way

More from Merriam-Webster on schmaltz

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for schmaltz

Nglish: Translation of schmaltz for Spanish Speakers

Comments on schmaltz

What made you want to look up schmaltz? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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