ˈshmȯlts How to pronounce schmaltz (audio)
variants or less commonly schmalz
: 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
: 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
: 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
ˈshmȯlt-sē How to pronounce schmaltz (audio)
… 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 Add softened schmaltz, matzoh meal and salt. Amy Drew Thompson,, 24 Mar. 2021 Cue the ’80s-style intro to the show-within-a show (a show that, notably, is not displayed in the slimmer aspect ratio that a show of that period would have been in), which is all sentiment and schmaltz. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, 5 Feb. 2021 And the lyrics are occasionally kind of funny, which offsets the schmaltz. Ed Masley, USA TODAY, 11 Feb. 2023 Its aesthetic is prime-time schmaltz and sequins, at odds with the easy and understated Hollywood glamour Blair has always projected. Emma Carmichael, SELF, 10 Jan. 2023 With their Netflix specials, Minhaj and Kroll lean into schmaltz. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2022

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

Word History


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also schmalz
: sentimental music or art
schmaltzy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on schmaltz

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