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Thread: poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

  1. #1
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    poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

    ¿What does schmoetry means? I don't find anything usefull in the Internet...

    << Poetry, schmoetry, pulling the ring on a tin of export>>

    Thanks!!!
    Last edited by Cagey; 10th February 2010 at 4:47 PM. Reason: Remove accidental gif.

  2. #2
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    Re: poetry schmoetry

    Putting "shm" in front of a word is a way of being dismissive about it. I don't know this for sure, but I've always assumed it came from Yiddish somehow. It's often used by stereotypical Jewish characters in plays and situation comedies.

    "If you play, you'll lose, uncle. These guys are good!"
    "Lose, shmose... who cares? I'll have had the pleasure of playing. Besides, your uncle may have a few tricks up his sleeve."

    "I have my reasons."
    "Reasons, shmeasons! You're just being stubborn. Call her up and apologize!"
    Last edited by JamesM; 20th October 2007 at 6:39 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: poetry schmoetry

    It is a way of saying "who cares about poetry!", or "poetry is not the issue". For example, "Art, schmart... I just want to see a pretty picture!" It is not a real word, just a nonsense expression.

  4. #4
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    Re: poetry schmoetry

    "Schm-" is used to pour scorn or derision on something by stating the word then restating it with the initial letter replaced by "schm".

    To quote one source:
    an element used to form a nonsense term of derision by preceding the initial vowel or by replacing the initial consonant or consonant cluster (forming a rhyme) <fancy, schmancy>
    It derives from various Yiddish words, and is a chiefly US usage.
    I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out. — Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
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    Re: poetry schmoetry

    Thank you very very much!!! I was desperate not finding anything!! Thanks!!

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    The origin of "shm" in fancy-shmansy

    Hello there,

    I'm quite curious about the origin of this shm- structure.

    It appears in a couple of phrases, but by far the most common one is fancy-shmansy.

    As far as I can tell this prefix is foreign.

    Various sources I've checked claim it was originally from Sardinian or Yiddish.

    Would anyone mind explaining the origin in further detail?

  7. #7
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    Re: poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

    Hi, Ahmet Akkoç! This topic has come up before - and a very interesting structure it is, too - so I've merged your question with one of the earlier threads. You might also be interested in this one: facts schmacts [prefix schm- / shm-]. If you still have questions, feel free to add them to this thread.

    JustKate
    English Only moderator
    "If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad" - Oxford University Press style manual

  8. #8
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    Re: poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

    You might like the answer at Straight Dope. Yes, it's from Yiddish.

  9. #9
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    Re: poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

    Wait so let me get this straight,

    the prefix was used to signify that something was negative (usually scorn-worthy),
    however it gained such a usage in English through the introduction of words bearing this prefix.


    Or, is it possible to form a similar structure in Yiddish as well?

  10. #10
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    Re: poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

    It doesn't sound like it, but you might have to ask someone who speaks Yiddish (and sadly, there aren't that many of them left, at least not in the US) or at least speaks more Yiddish than members of the EO forum are likely to. I wonder if the "Other Languages" forum might help you find an answer?
    "If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad" - Oxford University Press style manual

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