Definition of kitsch in US English:



  • Art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

    ‘the lava lamp is an example of sixties kitsch’
    • ‘There's only one thing that's worse than kitsch and that's fashionably ironic kitsch.’
    • ‘I don't think of our show in terms of music theatre, because it's original, fairly serious and it isn't kitsch or camp.’
    • ‘Why is it that with so much talent out there, you guys jump behind something that's only good for its kitsch value?’
    • ‘It treads a delicate line between tasteful extravagance and over-the-top kitsch.’
    • ‘This New York circus duo have been a hit off-Broadway with their brand of vaudeville, kitsch and bad behaviour.’
    • ‘They ask, quite reasonably, how can you tell the difference between kitsch and tacky?’
    • ‘The decor was simple Balkan style: classy but rustic, without the element of kitsch.’
    • ‘Lloyd Webber is devoted to Victorian art and cannot resist kitsch so long as it is Victorian kitsch.’
    • ‘The cover photographs for Eternal Youth show images that ought to be kitsch, or camp, but aren't.’
    • ‘You don't have to be a fan of anime to enjoy the music - but it would be better if you're a fan of kitsch.’
    • ‘It may be hidden inside a casino but it's a world away from the glitz, chrome and kitsch of the rest of the city.’
    • ‘Their obsessions were B-movies and beat music; kitsch sci-fi and kitchen-sink romance.’
    • ‘The sentiment behind this memorial may be admirable, but the result is pure kitsch.’
    • ‘Those who love kitsch and enjoy the unreality of stage musicals will adore the colours, because they're fully in bloom.’
    • ‘London's victory was announced only after a presentation ceremony that scaled new heights of kitsch.’
    • ‘Roy is keen to exploit the current vogue for things kitsch, promising glamorous, Seventies costumes.’
    • ‘Whether you consider this too cool for words or the height of kitsch is up to you.’
    • ‘Call it kitsch if you like, but this karaoke scene offers something which is sadly lacking from much of the contemporary social scene.’
    • ‘Hopkins's watercolors may sometimes come a little too close to kitsch for comfort.’
    • ‘The good news for lovers of overwrought kitsch is that the second series promises to live up, or down, to expectations.’
    poor-quality, second-rate, third-rate, substandard, low-grade, inferior, common, vulgar, shoddy, trashy, rubbishy, tawdry, tinny, brassy, worthless, meretricious, cheap and nasty, cheapjack, gimcrack, brummagem, pinchbeck
    View synonyms


  • Considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

    ‘the front room is stuffed with kitsch knickknacks, little glass and gilt ornaments’
    ‘she offers kitsch interpretations of classic British dress, including a range of tartan mini-kilts’
    • ‘Its church was typically kitsch but we relished the tranquility.’
    • ‘Word has it the mullet is so kitsch, it's fashionable again.’
    • ‘Camp brown interior complete with crystal chandeliers and disco lighting, Diep is more kitsch than classy but always packed with creative young barhoppers.’
    • ‘Similarly, the theatricality that once branded some realist paintings as kitsch no longer seems a necessarily negative attribute.’
    • ‘The cover photographs for Eternal Youth show images that ought to be kitsch, or camp, but aren't.’
    • ‘After a late dinner, we watched this wonderfully kitsch movie on my newly acquired 'Asian' channel.’
    • ‘What a great stroll down memory lane and THAT cardigan that Starsky wore … that's so kitsch that it will never, ever come back in style!’
    • ‘A lot of old advertising - still or moving - just looks clunky or kitsch as the years roll by.’
    • ‘Set in a beautifully kitsch New York, The Royal Tenenbaums tells the story of a most unusual family reunion.’
    • ‘There is a museum inside with wonderfully kitsch bull-fighting memorabilia.’
    • ‘The current '80s crop of cartoon favorites, sitcom has-beens, embarrassing pop relics, and fashion offenses takes what was essentially kitsch to begin with and parodies it.’
    • ‘Few colonial constructions survive, and many contemporary buildings would elsewhere be considered kitsch.’
    • ‘The sets look wonderfully kitsch - I especially like those pictures of pussycats in the background.’
    • ‘This not only paved the way for pop outfits such as Steps to release covers, it assured even pointy-headed music-lovers that it was alright to be kitsch again.’
    • ‘Although Wainwright's aesthetic is opulent, it is never kitsch.’
    • ‘The fact that the restaurant rotated was too kitsch for me to say no.’
    • ‘Palm Springs is dotted with low-key museums and mini theme parks, but none are quite tacky enough to qualify as amusingly kitsch Americana nor high-tech enough to provide state-of-the-art thrills.’
    • ‘No hint of eighteenth-century neo-Palladian swagger or its kitsch modern imitations.’
    • ‘She's very kitsch, but people don't realise that she had an incredible voice.’
    • ‘He considered his work neither ironic nor kitsch, being convinced of its artistic seriousness.’


1920s: German.