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Community Comment

A Word A Day — kitsch

September 24, 2012

Word of the Day

  • kitsch
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KITCH\


: something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality
: a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition

The “country store” seemed to sell mostly cheaply made kitsch and other tacky memorabilia.

“Across the board there was a welcome absence of kitsch.” — From a review by Guy Trebay in The New York Times, June 28, 2012


“The fashionable clothing label … kicked off the revival last June…, putting its models in Miranda-inspired swimsuits and marching them through a gantlet of 50 tons of bananas,” writes Mac Margolis in Newsweek International (January 2006) of a fabulously kitschy gala commemoration for the late Brazilian singer and actress Carmen Miranda. Since we borrowed “kitsch” from German in the 1920s, it has been our word for things in the realm of popular culture that dangle, like car mirror dice, precariously close to tackiness. But although things that can be described with “kitsch” and the related adjective “kitschy” are clearly not fine art, they may appeal to certain tastes—some folks delight in velvet paintings, plastic flamingos, dashboard hula dancers, and Carmen Miranda revivals!

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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