schmaltz (SHMAWLTS) listen


  • n. Rendered chicken fat.

  • n. Excessive sentimentality in art.

  • n. Luxury, wealth.

Example Sentences

  • "Of course the latkes are good--they're full of shmaltz!"

  • “He fell into a tub of shmaltz, that’s how lucky he is.” (NJY)

  • “As an actor, he goes in for too much shmaltz.” (NJY)

  • "The cast of True Spirit had no such chance: the schmaltz and mushiness overpower everything." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • שמאַלץ shmalts

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).

      Alternative Spellings

      shmaltz, shmalts


  • "In the days before cholesterol concerns and alternative products, most good Jewish cooks collected and saved their own poultry fat—shmaltz—to use as shortening in recipes and for frying food, because commercial lard is not kosher. Shmaltz is an old-fashioned Jewish delicacy. Some delis used to put a jar of shmaltz right on the table, like mustard, for customers to spread on rye bread and enjoy." (JPS)

    See also schmaltzy.

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