schmatta (SHMAH-tuh)


  • n. Rag, old/ragged piece of clothing, garment.

Example Sentences

  • "Morrie on Cheapside made a killing as a schmutter dealer. He sold thousands of woolen jumpers."

  • "You just need to use a schmata, soap and water to clean your floors, nothing fancy."

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • שמאַטע shmate 'rag'

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements


      • Great Britain
      • North America


      • 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).

      Alternative Spellings

      schmatter, schmutter, shmata, shmate, shmatta, shmatte, shmattah, shmatteh


  • Used in the expressions "The shmatta industry" and "shmatta district" (marks "garment" as Jewish). By extension, this word can be used as an insulting descriptor for a person with whom someone is having an affair: "You're nothing; you're just his schmatah!" or "If I see or hear or smell something of hers in this house or on you ever again, that's it -- you can have your schmatah and give me the get!"

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