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

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 The film works best when trafficking in poignant subtleties that provide a cumulative tear-shedding experience rather than the overt schmaltz which occasionally appears. Courtney Howard, Variety, 25 Apr. 2024 These vegetarian matzo balls are seasoned with olive oil instead of chicken schmaltz and pair nicely with Siva’s turmeric vegetable broth. Kate Bradshaw, The Mercury News, 15 Apr. 2024 Oil will work just fine, but schmaltz makes a world of difference. Julia Levy, Southern Living, 28 Mar. 2024 The schmaltz, also known as chicken fat, is incredibly savory and perfectly accents the potatoes. Julia Levy, Southern Living, 28 Mar. 2024 Only melodramatic soft rock can fully conjure the necromantic schmaltz of Lisa Frankenstein, a new comedy about a teenager seducing a long-dead corpse. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 8 Feb. 2024 Second violinist Bram Goldstein brought old-fashioned schmaltz to his part of the safe, conservative character whose cloying melodies are violently interrupted by harsh dissonances from the other three. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2023 Extended scenes of Michel working the room and greeting longtime customers go beyond glad-handing schmaltz to substantive discussions of his practices and influences and, above all, to his unfolding, for diners, of the Troisgros family’s multigenerational story. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 Without Chandler, the more sincere elements of the show could have drowned in their own schmaltz. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 29 Oct. 2023

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 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also schmalz
: sentimental music or art
schmaltzy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on schmaltz

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