poetry schmoetry [prefix schm- / shm-]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bellita_ar, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. bellita_ar Senior Member

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

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

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    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!"
  3. camaysar Senior Member

    usa, english
    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. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "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:
    It derives from various Yiddish words, and is a chiefly US usage.
  5. bellita_ar Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    Thank you very very much!!! I was desperate not finding anything!! Thanks!!
  6. themadprogramer Senior Member

    The other side of the world
    Turkish, English
    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. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    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.

    English Only moderator
  8. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    You might like the answer at Straight Dope. Yes, it's from Yiddish.
  9. themadprogramer Senior Member

    The other side of the world
    Turkish, English
    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. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    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?

Share This Page