Joe Schmoe


Joe Schmoe (DZHOH SHMOH) listen


  • n. A typical, ordinary person.

Example Sentences

  • "Well, if every Joe Schmoe is literally stuffed with mitzvot, it must mean that mitzvot don’t automatically bring along tremendous spiritual impact." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish
  • English


  • A combination of the English name Joe and Yiddish shm-reduplication that signifies irony or diminishment.

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


      • North America


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).

      Alternative Spellings

      Joe Shmoe, Joe Shmo, Joe Schmo


  • Shm-reduplication is a Yiddish process by which a word or syllable is repeated with the sound "shm" replacing the first sound of the reduplicated form.

    See also schmo.

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