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

Definition of schmaltz

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

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Other Words from schmaltz

schmaltzy \ ˈshmȯlt-​sē How to pronounce schmaltzy (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

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 Cutting the schmaltz, all along, has been an intelligent coldness. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Mystery of Ellen DeGeneres," 23 Aug. 2020 Withers was too great a talent and too independent an individual to be eclipsed by his own influence, and his legacy underlines that comfort need not mean numbness, schmaltz, or complacency. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Bill Withers Provided Comfort With a Conscience," 3 Apr. 2020 Maybe it’s schmaltzy; maybe there’s truth to the schmaltz. Pia Ceres, Wired, "With Kids Stuck at Home, Authors Bring Stories to Instagram," 23 Mar. 2020 That schmaltz — imbued with garlic, rosemary and orange zest — keeps the sweetness in check. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "A Sweetly Savory Kind of Bird," 13 Sep. 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of schmaltz

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for schmaltz

Yiddish shmalts, literally, rendered fat

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Time Traveler for schmaltz

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The first known use of schmaltz was in 1850

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Cite this Entry

“Schmaltz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for schmaltz


How to pronounce schmaltz (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of schmaltz

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

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Nglish: Translation of schmaltz for Spanish Speakers

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