smor·​gas·​bord | \ ˈsmȯr-gəs-ˌbȯrd How to pronounce smorgasbord (audio) \

Definition of smorgasbord

1 : 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)
2 : an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange

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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 From evergreen forests to the high desert, Oregon’s smorgasbord of landscapes offers something for everyone. Sunset Magazine, 5 May 2022 The Other Products category includes both the Apple Watch and AirPods, as well as a smorgasbord of others that don't neatly fit in the other devices. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 28 Apr. 2022 The crew also faced a smorgasbord of classic Whovian alien races: the Ood, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and the Weeping Angels. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Apr. 2022 Pi Day, not to be confused with National Pie Day held in January or National Pizza Day in February, is usually a smorgasbord of deals on pizza, pastries and pot pies. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 14 Mar. 2022 Spring 2022, however, promises to be a theatrical smorgasbord, with new plays, starry revivals, and Pulitzer Prize winners hitting the Great White Way. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 3 Mar. 2022 Those were just a few of the takeaways absorbing the usual smorgasbord of football, ads, patriotism and self-promotion, not necessarily in that order. Brian Lowry, CNN, 13 Feb. 2022 Connect with Snake River Angler, an outfitter and fly fishing shop touting an smorgasbord of permits that equate to some of the best river access around. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 5 Apr. 2022 The Enchantments offer a smorgasbord of climbing and few peaks are as popular, well known or accessible as Dragontail. Caleb Hutton, oregonlive, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smorgasbord.' 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 smorgasbord

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for smorgasbord

Swedish smörgåsbord, from smörgås open sandwich + bord table

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The first known use of smorgasbord was in 1873

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Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smorgasbord.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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