\ 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

Other Words from schmaltz

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

Synonyms for schmaltz


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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 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,, 24 Sep. 2021 Put on your rom-com goggles and behold the schmaltz from Modern Love’s second season, which most prominently features Kit Harington and Tobias Menzies in different stories across the pond inspired by the New York Times column. Devon Ivie, Vulture, 15 July 2021 At its smoothest and most over-the-top, Mr. Thomas’s music could border on schmaltz. New York Times, 30 May 2021 Excepting the heaps of schmaltz, this is a restrained film, made with wistfulness by a comedy great. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, 5 May 2021 If using schmaltz in place of oil, in keeping with the Jewish laws of kashrut, serve the kugel only with dishes that do not contain dairy. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2021 Jake’s recipe has just enough schmaltz, and the matzo balls are perfect and just the right size. Dallas News, 5 Mar. 2021 Although based on a real story, this new movie can’t help but traffic in the same sort of earnest schmaltz that made that 1970 Oscar winner such a crowd-pleasing weepie. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2020

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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The first known use of schmaltz was in 1850

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Schmaltz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of schmaltz

: 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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