Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rag.
  • n. An old or ragged garment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A rag.
  • n. An old article of clothing.
  • n. An item of clothing: a "rag" in fashion- and clothing-industry slang

Etymologies

Yiddish shmate, from Polish szmata.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Yiddish שמאַטע (shmate); originally from Polish szmata. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And if you're unfortunate enough not to have come across the term schmatte before, it's a Yiddish word meaning "a rag," or alternatively something of generally poor quality.

    ClickZ News

  • Evil genius wannabes, take note - here are some tips to get you on the road to properly torturing dressing pregnant women seeking some vaguely decent new schmatte.

    Evil Designer Genius 101

  • Traditionally, if you are a schmatte dealer, and Saks gives you an order, you give that order to a factory, who will give you a certain number of percentage points to the dollar, and pay you immediately.

    What Women Want

  • It could have been any old cheap schmatte, it appeared so shapeless.

    Bonnie Fuller: Michelle Obama's Lost Her Mind! 3 Reasons She's Suddenly A Fashion Disaster

  • His identity card, which he had proudly displayed to press cameras during the last election, when closely examined revealed his original family name as "Sabourjian" -- meaning someone in the schmatte trade and usually denoting Jewish roots, because it refers specifically to the weaving of Jewish religious garments.

    Was Khomeini's Father A Brit?

  • The thing is: for someone who has worked this hard for so long in an industry so famous for gobbling its young, by now she should either be like an emaciated Olson twin running around the East Village in a granny schmatte, barely able to carry her Starbucks, or she should be as seamless, careerist, and dead-eyed as Tom Cruise before he jumped the couch.

    Elizabeth Merrick: Not So Much: State of the Nation; More: State of Beyonc��

  • Speaking of which, what the hell was that schmatte that Tilda Swinton had on?

    Oscar Fashions

  • Although there have been notable entrepreneurs from all ethnicities, few have loomed over their communities as did financiers like Hellman, and later, the ranks of schmatte garment makers, Hollywood moguls and retailers.

    California And The Jews

  • Log onto duplikate. net, read their spirited defense of yours truly, then choose from a bewildering variety of colors (or “colorways,” as we prefer to call them in the schmatte business).

    Kiss Me, Kate! Moss and I Both Rose From Crap Towns to Costume Institute Cr��me

  • Bronwyn Cosgrave, formerly of the British Vogue, assembled ten doyens of the fashion scene (a team of established stylists, schmatte scribes, and designers of high reputation and widely varying taste and talent) and asked each to pick the ten most promising budding designers from around the globe.

    Passion in Fashion

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