[smawr-guh s-bawrd, -bohrd or, often, shmawr-]


a buffet meal of various hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, salads, casserole dishes, meats, cheeses, etc.
an extensive array or variety: The company has a smorgasbord of employee benefits.

Also smör·gås·bord [Swedish smœr-gaws-boord] /Swedish ˈsmœr gɔsˌburd/.

Origin of smorgasbord

1915–20; < Swedish smörgsbord, equivalent to smörgs sandwich + bord table Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smorgasbord

Contemporary Examples of smorgasbord

  • In Magnolia (1999)—“a smorgasbord of pleasure, that movie”—he played opposite Tom Cruise as a nurse.

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    Philip Seymour Hoffman: An Actor First

    Tim Teeman

    February 2, 2014

  • And so the brothers began to speed-read hundreds of biographies and books, compiling the anecdotes into a smorgasbord of trivia.

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    Eating With the Stars

    Kara Cutruzzula

    August 3, 2010

  • Sara Nelson remembers their smorgasbord of friendship and fine food.

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    The Savory Life of Sheila Lukins

    Sara Nelson

    September 1, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for smorgasbord



a variety of cold or hot savoury dishes, such as pâté, smoked salmon, etc, served in Scandinavia as hors d'oeuvres or as a buffet meal

Word Origin for smorgasbord

Swedish, from smörgås sandwich + bord table
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

Word Origin and History for smorgasbord

1893, from Swedish smörgåsbord "open sandwich table," literally "butter-goose table," from smörgås, which is said to mean "bread and butter," but is compounded from smör "butter" (see smear (n.)) and gås, literally "goose" (and from the same Germanic root that yielded English goose (n.)), which is said by OED to have a secondary meaning of "a clump (of butter)." The final element is bord "table," from Proto-Germanic *burdam "plank, board, table" (see board (n.1)). Figurative sense of "medley, miscellany" is recorded from 1948.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper