schmuck

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roxane

Member
Switzerland / French
And another question while I'm here!

About the word "schmuck". I knew this word in German (and it must probably come from German, for it is written with a "c" between the "s" and the "h"?), but it seems it has a different meaning in English (=foolish person, I think).

My question is: is it rude to tell someone he's a schmuck? :D Or can you say it in a jokey way?

By the way, I never heard it, I read it here.
 
  • mustang72

    Senior Member
    Swiss German
    Greetings to Switzerland.

    I believe it's a Jewish word originally. I understand it as an expression for some stupid or foolish person. In the movie "Independence Day" I believe the father (Judd Hirsch) of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) said that word a few times.

    Edit: Just found a quote: "Everyone's trying to get out of Washington, and we're the only schmucks trying to get in."
     

    GuitarMaestro

    Senior Member
    USA English
    A schmuck is, I believe, a Yiddish word of German origin that is commonly known to English speakers in the US. It means an idiot, or fool. It is not vulgar, but it is the same as telling someone they are stupid, so I would be careful who I said it to.
     

    Randisi.

    Senior Member
    American English; USA
    Hi, again.

    'Schmuck' is of Yiddish origin. In English, it means a jerk.

    In Yiddish, it means 'penis'.

    There's an old joke about a man riding a horse, dressed in ridiculous foppish clothes. Some New Yorker would then quip: Hey, get a load of the schmuck on that horse!

    It can be considered offensive, but probably only to American speakers of Yiddish.

    It rhymes with 'luck'.
     

    rizzorr

    New Member
    English - United States
    Schmuck is Yiddish for an uncircumcised penis.

    Over the years it has been morphed into similar meanings.

    Kind of like:
    Calling someone a Penis means Dumb or a Dick means a Jerk.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    In Yiddish, it means 'penis'.

    There's an old joke about a man riding a horse, dressed in ridiculous foppish clothes. Some New Yorker would then quip: Hey, get a load of the schmuck on that horse!
    I can't get the humor. Can you explain?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hi, again.

    'Schmuck' is of Yiddish origin. In English, it means a jerk.

    In Yiddish, it means 'penis'.

    There's an old joke about a man riding a horse, dressed in ridiculous foppish clothes. Some New Yorker would then quip: Hey, get a load of the schmuck on that horse!

    It can be considered offensive, but probably only to American speakers of Yiddish.

    It rhymes with 'luck'.
    I grew us knowing that "schmuck" was a "curse word" that should not be used in polite company. It has lost that stigma (as, it seems, has "putz"). I was taught that "schmuck" was crude slang for penis, probably in line with "dick" in English.

    I'm thinking that "dick" is not considered that crude anymore either.

    In high school, as a joke, when asked by a girl what "schmuck" meant, I replied, "nose". She went around telling people what nice noses they had until someone enlightened her. She was pretty angry with me at the time.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I'm old-fashioned, I guess (and also not the Roxane who started this thread). I wouldn't use schmuck in polite company.
    Just to point out how much 'bad language' has changed in my time, when I was in high school the boys in my class got in trouble because some anonymous prankster wrote "Our class president sucks" on the blackboard at lunch. The usual suspects were called in to provide a sample of their handwriting, and the headmaster was annoyed when the only person who actually came out and confessed was the class president himself. His confession was, not surprisingly, taken to be false.
     
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