n. An idiot; contemptible person.
n. A clumsy person.
n. An unlucky person.
n. Someone who makes a foolish bargain.
n. A social outcast.
n. A naive person.
"He missed the bus--twice! What a shlemiel!"
“He has the brains of a shlemiel.” (NJY)
“That poor shlemiel always gets the short end of the stick.” (NJY)
“Why does a shlemiel like that ever try to fix anything?” (NJY)
“Don’t invite that shlemiel to the party.” (NJY)
Languages of Origin
- 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
- Great Britain
- South Africa
- Australia / New Zealand
- The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003).
- 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).
Who Uses This
schlemiel, shlimiel, shlemeil, schlemiel, schlemeel
“[The 'someone who makes a foolish bargain'] usage is wide in Europe; it probably comes from Chamisso’s tale 'Peter Schlemihl’s Wunderbare Geschichte,' a fable in which the protagonist sold his shadow and, like Faust, sold his soul to Satan.” (NJY)
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