Definition of saccharine in US English:



  • 1Excessively sweet or sentimental.

    • ‘Ford relates the sentiment, humour and more grandiose moral of the story very effectively, but manages always to keep things sweet and never saccharine.’
    • ‘Janice Beard is a sweet film that manages to avoid being too saccharine.’
    • ‘She has a saccharine smile on her face and her voice is sickly sweet.’
    • ‘But very often the sentiments expressed are saccharine.’
    • ‘Crunchy, rattling beats are generic and hollow, the plaintive horns a trifle saccharine, and the piano motifs, dreamy and slender, have something distinctly Walt Disney about them.’
    • ‘In the midst of an ongoing worldwide trek, Kapranos spoke to the Mirror about music festivals, Christmas lights and the saccharine splendour of arena singalongs.’
    • ‘He kept glancing over at me and then smiling, his expression saccharine.’
    • ‘The film is filled with humorous dialogue that is often sweet without being saccharine.’
    • ‘Stray too far in one direction and you devolve into saccharine sentimentality, go the other direction and you risk crass exploitation.’
    • ‘Speaking personally, I find Christmas specials in general too sweet and saccharine for my taste, and there is plenty of that gooey sentimentality.’
    • ‘It is very nice that they love each other and all, but their banter did get a bit saccharine at times.’
    • ‘One of many saccharine Army songs, this one is a letter home from a kid in boot camp.’
    • ‘With its orchestral arrangements, dragging tempos and saccharine delivery, it seems less like pop music than easy listening.’
    • ‘I always find songs written about that quite saccharine and a little bit obvious.’
    • ‘Working every angle in a role that could easily have veered into saccharine excess, Portman is indomitable.’
    • ‘But what saves it from saccharine sentimentality is that Meany is used as a means of exposing not just the hypocrisies of small town life but the larger follies of post-war America.’
    • ‘Somewhere in Time is so sweet that it becomes saccharine, so serious that it becomes self-parody, so earnest that it becomes artificial.’
    • ‘Granted, they don't exhibit white-hot chemistry, but it's suitably sweet without being too saccharine.’
    • ‘The sentimentality, which at times reaches unbearable levels, is saccharine and cloying.’
    • ‘Even during his well-documented years of excess, the saccharine sweetness of James Taylor's voice served him well.’
    sentimental, over-sentimental, over-emotional, mawkish, cloying, sickly, sugary, syrupy, sickening, nauseating, maudlin, lachrymose, banal, trite
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  • 2dated Relating to or containing sugar; sugary.

    • ‘Rosanna had always smelled of roses and saccharine peppermint.’
    • ‘Diet Coke's path to glory was paved by the long-forgotten Tab, whose bitter, saccharine flavor first hit the market in 1963, and can be considered the gateway drug to diet colas.’
    • ‘Don't sugar-coat: they may have declared Nutra-sweet non-carcinogenic, but it still has that saccharine aftertaste.’
    • ‘The homemade desserts are far less saccharine than a lot of Indian sweets.’
    • ‘She did not seem to mind the cloying saccharine smell as she briskly walked past rows of incapacitated men, they heads so filled with the narcotic fumes that it was a miracle that they were still alive.’
    • ‘Thus the same saccharine solution may be made to undergo either the vinous or the butyric fermentation, according as the yeast plant or another organism, described by Pasteur, is introduced into it.’
    • ‘There are also a series of intensely sweet, almost saccharine desserts, like peanut ice parfait (spiked with cane liquor) and an extra-creamy flan made from vanilla beans.’
    • ‘Just as remarkable is the gingery, tart-sweet plum sauce (usually a saccharine affair) served with Republic Square's miniature fried egg rolls.’


  • another term for saccharin
    • ‘The researchers discovered that rats fed on yoghurt sweetened with saccharine ate more calories, gained more weight and put on more body fat than rats that were given yoghurt sweetened with glucose.’
    • ‘The derivatives used to prepare saccharine and aspartame, substitutes for sugar, have inorganic chemicals that make us vulnerable to diseases by bringing down the immunity of the body.’
    • ‘Until recently we resorted to artificial sweeteners such as saccharine or aspartame, but never felt good about it.’
    • ‘In Japan, Korea, and China, it is used extensively in lieu of saccharine and aspartame.’
    • ‘In 1926 the artificial sweetener saccharine was popularized.’


Late 17th century: from modern Latin saccharum + -ine.