shnook

Alternative Spellings

shnuk, schnook, schnuck

Definitions

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

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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