• n. Idiot; contemptible person. "Clumsy, bungling person." (Steinmetz)

Example Sentences

  • "He missed the bus--twice! What a shlemiel!"

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • שלומיאל shlumiel

    • 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)


      • North America


      • 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

      shlemiel, shlimiel, shlemeil, schlemiel, schlemeel

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