smor·​gas·​bord ˈsmȯr-gəs-ˌbȯrd How to pronounce smorgasbord (audio)
: a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (such as hors d'oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
: an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange

Did you know?

Although smorgasbord might make us think of a variety of foods, the Swedish word smörgås refers to a particular food item—an open sandwich or, alternatively, a slice of bread covered with butter—which is a staple of the traditional Swedish smorgasbord. (The word smör means "butter," and gås can mean "a lump of butter" as well as "goose.") Smörgås teamed up with the Swedish word bord, meaning "table" or "board," to form smorgasbord; the word first appeared in English in the later part of the 19th century. By the mid-20th century smorgasbord was being used outside of food-related contexts to refer to something that comprises a mixture or assemblage of different parts.

Examples of smorgasbord in a Sentence

every day the director has to first deal with a smorgasbord of problems before he can begin filming
Recent Examples on the Web The market – with its ensemble of produce, cheese, fish, meats, sweets and an almost endless smorgasbord of aromas and offerings - is transitioning to a public-private oversight. Marc Bona, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2023 Streaming platforms acquire them, new and old, and of varying quality to add color to the smorgasbord. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 All of this attracts larger visitors looking to sample this smorgasbord of available delicacies. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 2023 Whether looking to game on the Nintendo Switch and PS4, or want to practice photo and video skills with a green screen and editing software, there's a smorgasbord of opportunities at the maker's spaces. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 3 July 2023 This weekend’s free Lowell Folk Festival in the city’s downtown is a cultural smorgasbord of folk music, craft tradition, and an array of fare from around the world. Lauren Daley,, 25 July 2023 Plenty of dieticians online caution that the veggie-cottage-cheese-mustard smorgasbord shouldn’t replace meals, but supplement them. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 14 July 2023 The piece is set to a smorgasbord of music, including Puccini, a lute and mandolin work by Vivaldi and solo piano by Norwegian composer Otto A. Totland. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, 15 June 2023 The headset will offer a smorgasbord of features and applications, from games created by experienced Apple Arcade developers to immersive fitness programs to the ability to use iPad apps like Books, FaceTime, and Maps in virtual reality. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 24 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Swedish smörgåsbord, from smörgås open sandwich + bord table

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of smorgasbord was in 1873


Dictionary Entries Near smorgasbord

Cite this Entry

“Smorgasbord.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


smor·​gas·​bord ˈsmȯr-gəs-ˌbō(ə)rd How to pronounce smorgasbord (audio)
: a self-service luncheon or supper offering a large variety of foods and dishes

from Swedish smörgåsbord "a buffet meal," from smörgås "open sandwich" and bord "table"

More from Merriam-Webster on smorgasbord

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