(redirected from schmattes)


1. A rag.
2. An old or ragged garment.

[Yiddish shmate, from Polish szmata.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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His last article entitled "Of Tchotchkes, Mavens, Schmattes and Other English Words" appeared in our FaU 2011 issue of Midstream.
The super-sized sequined schmattes Edna Turn-blad sports in "Hairspray" have got nothing on the ruched chiffon circus tent, with hot-pink feather trim, worn by John Lithgow in "Carnival of the Animals." This enchanting new ballet for tots of all ages by Christopher Wheeldon offers further evidence--following his intoxicating "Carousel" ballet from the fall--that Wheeldon could be a boon to Broadway, given the right opportunities.
The buzz is all about the "specialty drink." Nevertheless, between the lattes, schmattes and all the different specialty drinks, one drink has consistently increased in popularity -- the cappuccino.
In Dirt and Desire, "rags" become a resonant metaphor of people treated as worthless, disposable rubbish, much as the word "Schmattes" (rags) was used to characterize the Jews in the Shoah.
Constructing material life out of the schmattes of his former home, he manages in his syncretic alphabets and geographies to find a dynamic substitute for both negation of the past and sentimental nostalgia for it.