schlimazel (shluh-MAH-zul) listen


  • n. Unlucky person; the constant butt of idiotic or unfortunate happenings.

Example Sentences

  • n. "The schlemiel spilled the soup on the schlemazel."

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • Yiddish שלימזל 'shlimazl,' from German schlimm 'bad' and Hebrew מזל 'luck'

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • 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).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      schlemazel, schlemosel, schlemasel, shlemazel, shlimazel, shlimazl, shlemazl, schlimazl, schlemozel, shemozzle, shlemozzle, schemozzle, shlemozel


  • Popularized among a broad American audience through the opening theme song for the TV show Laverne and Shirley: "Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!" (source).

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