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[kich] /kɪtʃ/
something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.
Origin of kitsch
1925-30; < German, derivative of kitschen to throw together (a work of art)
Related forms
kitschy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kitsch
  • The lines separating carnival and culture, art and kitsch seem to have disappeared.
  • Neatly replaces the original kitsch with the absurd.
  • Inside, kitsch mannequins in traditional dress reveal how they lived at the time.
  • The lines between garish kitsch and substantive reality have been annihilated.
  • But the mild kitsch is fun and shouldn't lower your expectations for the food.
  • Yet academic chops and self-seriousness are also the hallmarks of kitsch.
  • Only if you enjoy pseudo-events and have a taste for phantasmagoric kitsch.
  • Because of his close ties with the commercial world, some art critics would describe his work as kitsch.
  • When they fail, they fail spectacularly, creating radical new forms of musical kitsch.
  • When it is revealed as a lie, as a presentation of invented suffering, it deteriorates to kitsch.
British Dictionary definitions for kitsch


  1. tawdry, vulgarized, or pretentious art, literature, etc, usually with popular or sentimental appeal
  2. (as modifier): a kitsch plaster bust of Beethoven
Derived Forms
kitschy, adjective
Word Origin
C20: from German
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kitsch

1926, from German kitsch, literally "gaudy, trash," from dialectal kitschen "to smear."

What we English people call ugliness in German art is simply the furious reaction against what Germans call süsses Kitsch, the art of the picture postcard, and of what corresponds to the royalty ballad. It has for years been their constant reproach against us that England is the great country of Kitsch. Many years ago a German who loved England only too well said to me, 'I like your English word plain; it is a word for which we have no equivalent in German, because all German women are plain.' He might well have balanced it by saying that English has no equivalent for the word Kitsch. [Edward J. Dent, "The Music of Arnold Schönberg," "The Living Age," July 9, 1921]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kitsch in Culture
kitsch [(kich)]

Works of art and other objects (such as furniture) that are meant to look costly but actually are in poor taste.

Note: Kitsch in literature and music is associated with sentimentalism as well as bad taste.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for kitsch



Literature or art having little esthetic merit but appealing powerfully to popular taste: It stands unchallenged as a masterpiece of kitsch/ The closest I can come to America is through its Kitsch

[1925+; fr German, ''trash, rubbish'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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