Honor Schmonor [prefix shm- / schm-]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lapachis8, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. lapachis8 Senior Member

    El Defectuoso
    Hi there:
    I came across:

    "Honor is the most important value, he said.
    Honor schmoner, she replied."

    It looks like a kind of curse, I guess, but could someone give a hand with this one?

    The Urban dictionary definition makes no sense with the context.
  2. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    There are other threads on this phenomenon, but with the device I'm using posting links isn't very convenient. This phenomenon comes from Yiddish, or at least is inspired by it. When you repeat a word and replace the first syllable of the second word with "schm" you deride the concept the word expresses.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  3. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Tazzler is right; the reason you're having problems finding information is that virtually any noun can be used this way: honor schmoner, diet schmiet, cooking schmooking.
    A: I'm cooking supper.
    B: Cooking schmooking! You're opening a can of spaghetti sauce and dumping it over pasta! That's not cooking!

    A: No, thanks, no pie. I'm on diet.
    B: Diet schmiet - it's Thanksgiving. You should eat some pie.

    And so on.

    P.S. I tried searching for older threads, too, but I had no luck.
  4. lapachis8 Senior Member

    El Defectuoso
    Very interesting!
    It had a Yiddish sound to it indeed.
    Thanks a lot for your help!
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    I had some luck. I searched for both "schm" and "shm" and found threads in each case.
  6. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Sorry, Biffo - I searched for schm but didn't find anything at all except this particular thread. Maybe my browser is in a bad mood.

    P.S. And now, of course, it's working perfectly. Ah, well!
  7. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
  8. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    Said by a Yiddishe mame:
    Edipus, Schmedipus, as long as he loves his mother...
  9. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
  10. K-Young Member


    It's a strip from the Far side. What's this "History shimisory"? Is it a nonsense way of just saying "history?"
  11. JordyBro Senior Member

    English - Australia
    We use the "X shmX" structure to say something doesn't matter, is bad, doesn't have much merit, doesn't have much relevance etc. For example "politics shmolotics, I just care if the game is fun."
  12. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    This little cartoon tells you that people who are unimpressed by something often make fun of that thing by mocking it with a nonsense word that rhymes with the original word and begins with the letters "shm": History, shmistory = I am not impressed by history. Indians, shmindians = I don't care about Indians. Philosophy, shmilosophy = I think philosophy is a stupid subject.

    If you're not familiar with this practice in English, the cartoon won't make any sense to you.

    cross-posted with Jordy
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  13. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    K-Young, I've combined your question with one of the earlier threads on this topic. Note that the schm-prefix is pretty versatile. If this thread or one of the other threads listed by Copyright doesn't answer your question, feel free to ask in this thread.

    English Only moderator
  14. srk Senior Member

    South Bend, Indiana
    English - US
    But I'd never say "honor-schmoner." I'd have to say "honor-schmonner."
  15. JordyBro Senior Member

    English - Australia
    Searching honor-schmonner gave 8 results. We say "honor schmonor" because of the -onor, although I use honour so by extension schmonour.

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