Schtunk

Cerros de Úbeda

Senior Member
UK
Spanish - Spain (Galicia)
Hi,

In Sergio Leone's film 'Once Upon a Time in America' there's this term used, 'Schtunk'. It is to be supposed to be a yiddish term, I gather.

The film is about a band of gangsters in New York City, in the context of Jewish neighbourhood youths/criminals during prohibition, or some years later. They use the term as a derogative allusion to refer to someone despicable, as a synonym to 'lowlife'.

Phrase - In a club, Robert de Niro's character, just out of prison (1:42'), talking to one of his partners, jokingly says, referring to the others,

'Some bunch of schtunks. You know that?'
'Un pandilla de impresentables. ¿Sabes?'

My question is, can anyone comment on the word? Have you heard it, Where/How is it used? Possible alternative translations.

Thanks in advance
 
  • BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Es yiddish
    Concuerdo. Una búsqueda de la palabra resultará en una definición diferente de tu idea.
    Alborotadores/Agitadores, en inglés troublemakers. But the Yiddish seems to be closer
    to mischief-makers, rascals, rogues.
     

    Cerros de Úbeda

    Senior Member
    UK
    Spanish - Spain (Galicia)
    Concuerdo. Una búsqueda de la palabra resultará en una definición diferente de tu idea.
    Alborotadores/Agitadores, en inglés troublemakers. But the Yiddish seems to be closer
    to mischief-makers, rascals, rogues.
    Es cierto. Ahora que lo dices, creo que usé un término demasiado leve, del que usaría un joven, no un criminal... quizás, 'gamberros', o 'tirados'...

    Etymologically it's from a Hebrew word meaning a filthy person, a stinker.
    Thank you very much for your contribution. But,

    Which one? Can you elaborate a bit...? What is the word?

    I mean, I've made a search online, and Urban Dictionary does concur with what you say; Urban Dictionary: Schtunk

    But there also comes up another similar term elsewhere, 'schtukh', with several variants mentioned ('schtuck', schtook', 'stuk', etc), with several meanings as well, mainly 'to be in trouble', and 'piece of crap' (apparently, from the Yiddish phrase 'shtuck dreck').

    What would you think of all this?
    Do these phrases ring a bell? And, are they similar?

    Thanks
     
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    BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There are many similar Yiddish words. Unfortunately, not enough people speak the language anymore.
    To my understanding schtunk is something different from schtuck.
     

    Cerros de Úbeda

    Senior Member
    UK
    Spanish - Spain (Galicia)
    Thank you, Bluegaze.

    It surprised me how all three responses to my original post concurred in the term being Yiddish without doubting, because in the search I made there were some doubts in relation to the term 'schtuck', originating from 'The Concise Partridge Dictionary of Slang', which rejects this possibility.

    I think a translation might be 'canalla', somewhat dated, but with both connotations of 'troublemakers' and 'rascals'.

    Ok, thanks.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    "Shtunk" = pestoso (maloliente, o cualquier adjetivo que impliquen 'mugre' que da olor). Si, es del idish, y lo hablo nativamente. Bah, se hablaba solamente eso en mi casa. Perdí un poco de lo 'nativo' por falta de uso corriente.
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are many similar Yiddish words. Unfortunately, not enough people speak the language anymore.
    To my understanding schtunk is something different from schtuck.
    I agree. I'll probably be shot for using a language other than English or Spanish; if you read Hebrew, you'll recognise the nun (/n/) as the penultimate letter, bearing in mind the language is written from right to left. So, similar to schtuk, but not quite the same.

    Etymology
    שטונק shtunk '(vulgar) filthy person'
     

    Cerros de Úbeda

    Senior Member
    UK
    Spanish - Spain (Galicia)
    if you read Hebrew, you'll recognise the nun (/n/) as the penultimate letter. So, similar to schtuk, but not quite the same.

    Etymology
    שטונק shtunk '(vulgar) filthy person'
    Yes, OK.
    Thanks, Bluegaze and Wandering JJ

    And thanks also to Dubija and Magazine
     

    Cerros de Úbeda

    Senior Member
    UK
    Spanish - Spain (Galicia)
    if you read Hebrew, you'll recognise the nun (/n/)
    By the way, as you seem to know about this...

    I'm wondering about the 'Sh- / Sch-' groups of word starts, that seem very common, as in this 'Shtunk', and in another case, 'Schmettle'. Also, in the list mentioned from Wikipedia, where there are several.

    Can you comment on it? Why is it so frequent? Does it associate with some meaning or kind of words in particular, such as nouns or verbs? Does it contain any specific meaning or connotation (derogation or humour), as I see it appears in negative words - shtunk, shtuck, schmaltz, etc.?

    Again, thanks
     
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    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    By the way, as you seem to know about this...

    I'm wondering about the 'Sh- / Sch-' groups of word starts, that seem very common, as in this 'Shtunk', and in another case, 'Schmettle'. Also, in the list mentioned from Wikipedia, where there are several.

    Can you comment on it? Why is it so frequent? Does it associate with some meaning or kind of words in particular, such as nouns or verbs? Does it contain any specific meaning or connotation (derogation or humour), as I see it appears in negative words - shtunk, shtuck, schmaltz, etc.?

    Again, thanks
    I was going to send you a private message in reply as this is a Spanish-English forum, but I see you do not accept 'conversations'! If you change your settings, let me know and I'll give you some answers.
    JJ
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    I was going to send you a private message in reply as this is a Spanish-English forum, but I see you do not accept 'conversations'! If you change your settings, let me know and I'll give you some answers.
    JJ
    Why don't you (or Cerros de Ubeda) switch the question to the Yiddish forum? I also can give you some explanations. (Mendl Shmendl)
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    Why don't you (or Cerros de Ubeda) switch the question to the Yiddish forum? I also can give you some explanations. (Mendl Shmendl)
    Your explanations will be better than mine!

    I've only just recognised Menachem – "comforter – shcomforter"! Beautiful example!
    ¿Wouldn't life have been boring antes de la Torre de Babel?
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    it's funny that the Yiddish forum is in the sub-forum OTHER LANGUAGES, which is in the forum OTHER LANGUAGE FORUMS. . . .. I suppose that's why I couldn't find it.
    I mean, it might as well have been in the ALL LANGUAGES sub-forum :confused:
     

    Amapolas

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    it's funny that the Yiddish forum is in the sub-forum OTHER LANGUAGES, which is in the forum OTHER LANGUAGE FORUMS. . . .. I suppose that's why I couldn't find it.
    I mean, it might as well have been in the ALL LANGUAGES sub-forum :confused:
    Ah, sí, está escondidito. Yo tuve suerte. :)

    Edit: Ah, y soy una estrella. :p
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Pueden suscribirse, si quieren, a foros de poco uso, (permiten hacer esto desde hace más o menos un año) así cada vez que a alguien en el mundo se le ocurre preguntar sobre Yiddish [shm], inmediatamente me llega el aviso y le llega a todos los que alguna vez lo usaron.
     

    MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    No dudo que en yiddish signifique apestoso o algo parecido, pero dos diccionarios especializados en slang estadounidense le dan a la palabra los significados de "a detestable person" (Dict. of Am. Slang and Colloq. Expressions, by Richard Spears. McGraw-Hill) y "a contemptible person" (Dict. of Am. Slang, by Wentworth & Berg Flexner).
     
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    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    No dudo que en yiddish signifique apestoso o algo parecido, pero dos diccionarios especializado en slang estadounidense le dan a la palabra los significados de "a detestable person" (Dict. of Am. Slang and Colloq. Expressions, by Richard Spears. McGraw-Hill) y "a contemptible person" (Dict. of Am. Slang, by Wentworth & Berg Flexner).
    ¡Eso es normal! Todos los 'yiddishisms' pasaron al inglés con pequeñas diferencias del original ! Y el prefijo 'sh' se agrega en inglés a palabras que nunca se usaron en Yiddish. "Borrowings", que le dicen.

    (Edipus/Shmedipus, as long as he loves his mother!)
     

    MiguelitOOO

    Banned
    Español - México
    Después de leer varios textos sobre el tema, he llegado a la ingenua conclusión de que la palabra "schtunk" significa "apestado" (un apestado/un indeseable), que no es lo mismo que "apestoso", ya que si alguien quiere decir en yiddish que algo o alguien es apestoso, diría farshtunken (no diría schtunk).
    Serían sutilezas, de las cuales, saber si son del yiddish o del slang americano, es algo que no puedo determinar.
     
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    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Considering that for me that would be 'shtinken, farshtinken, shtink' - I guess it would be irrelevant.
     
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