vegetarian-shmegetarian [prefix shm- / schm-]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by SophieD, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. SophieD Senior Member

    At dinner, a girl asks one of the guests if he's a vegetarian.
    The girl's mother then says : Oh, vegetarian-shmegetarian. I know it's trendy right now, but if you ask me, people spend too much time thinking and not enough time eating.

    What does "shmegetarian" mean ?
  2. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    The repetition of a word with schm- replacing the first letter is used to denote disbelief, similar to 'vegetarian my arse'. It can be used for pretty much any word.
  3. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    There are a few threads on this already, but, I think, virtually impossible to search using the dictionary.

    Here is one.
  4. Ann O'Rack Senior Member

    UK English
    I believe it is a play on Yiddish, though I don't know the details.
  5. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The OED has an entry for schm-:
    An element, derived from the numerous Yiddish words that begin with this sequence of sounds, fused with or replacing the initial letter(s) of a word, so as to form a nonsense-word which is added to the original word in order to convey disparagement, dismissal, or derision.
    The OED's first example is crisis - schmisis from 1926.
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Here's another one:
    calories schmalories

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