Alternative Spellings

shmues, shmooze


  • to make small talk or informally chat; to network, kiss up

Example Sentences

  • "I went to a party the other night and schmoozed with my boss."
  • "Avoid that conference at all costs. Total shmooze-fest."

Languages of Origin



from Yiddish שמועסן shmuesn 'to converse, chat' (verbal stem is שמועס shmues), originally from Hebrew שמועות 'things that are heard'

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]).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


Originally used only with the Yiddish meaning ('chat'), this word has changed in American English and now also means 'network'. It has also changed from being intransitive to being both intransitive and transitive (now we can "shmooze with somebody," "shmooze somebody," or "shmooze up" somebody we want to curry favor with).

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