shnook

Definitions

  • n. "An incompetent person who is deserving of pity but also likable." (JPS)

  • n. "A customer easily persuaded, a sucker." (H.L. Mencken, American Language)

Example Sentences

  • "What's a good-looking dame like her doing with a shnook like him?" (dictionary.com)

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish

Etymology

  • perhaps from Yiddish שנוק shnuk 'snout, muddle, (elephant's) trunk'

    • Who Uses This

      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage
      • Ethnic: Jews whose Jewish identity is primarily ethnic

      Regions

      • North America

      Dictionaries

      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).

      Alternative Spellings

      shnuk, schnook, schnuck

Notes

  • Likely from Yiddish shnuk, meaning "elephant trunk, snout." The current usage seems to have originated in the US (Rosten).

    May be used endearingly. In the musical "Flower Drum Song", Sammy (a Chinese American) sings to his girlfriend, "Schnookie, don't marry me!"

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