facts schmacts [prefix schm- / shm-]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by dani_, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. dani_ New Member


    I heard this from Homer and I searched it in google and several searchers, but it only appeared in the title of all results. I thought "schmacts" could be german and I tried in google translate, but nothing. If someone could help me.

  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The shm- (schm-) is Yiddish, and we have borrowed from Yiddish the habit of using a repetition where the second word begins with shm-, to indicate contempt or dismissiveness:

    facts, schmacts! ["facts aren't important! who cares about the facts?"]

    It can be applied to anything: German, Schmerman; or Homer, Schmomer, etc. etc.
  3. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
  4. dani_ New Member

    Thank you.
  5. hushhush77 Senior Member

    <Hushhush's thread (from here) has been merged with an earlier thread>

    Hi, what does the word "schmalable" mean? The context is like this: Mai- I was thinking of taking her advice. I want to be salable. Leo:-You’re a person, not a piece of meat. Salable, schmalable! Don’t you even think about it!

    I checked in the dictionary but couldn't find the word "schmalable". Is it an English word?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2015
  6. AmaryllisBunny

    AmaryllisBunny Senior Member

    Here is what I found for schmalable: it is only used in ESL podcasts for Chinese and Japanese. As far as I know, it doesn't exist... and Google was only able to find a measly 26 results (Chinese/Japanese).

    It seems very unlikely that you'll find any English dictionary with this word let alone the existence of this word.

    Perhaps I am wrong? :confused:
  7. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    It sounds like an example of the (Yiddish-derived?) practice, common in AE, apparently, of prefixing a word with -sch or -sh in order to be dismissive.
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I agree with sound shift. It's the Yiddish prefix added to saleable. (That is the normal BrE spelling and it took me a moment to realise that salable was another way of spelling it.)
  9. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    By using "schmalable" here, Leo is in fact saying "You're not salable".

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