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schlemiel

[shluh-meel] /ʃləˈmil/
noun, Slang.
1.
an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.
Also, schlemihl, shlemiel.
Origin
1890-1895
1890-95; < Yiddish shlemil < Hebrew shəlumīʾēl Shelumiel, a Biblical and Talmudic figure
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for schlemiel
  • The protagonist is an obsessed schlemiel until he turns out to be right.
British Dictionary definitions for schlemiel

schlemiel

/ʃləˈmiːl/
noun
1.
(US, slang) an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail
Word Origin
Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781–1838)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for schlemiel
n.

"awkward, clumsy person," 1868, from Yiddish shlemiel "bungler," from main character in A. von Chamisso's German fable "The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl" (1813), probably from Biblical name Shelumiel (Num. i:6), chief of the tribe of Simeon, identified with the Simeonite prince Zimri ben Salu, who was killed while committing adultery. (cf. schlemazel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for schlemiel

schlemiel

noun

A stupid person; fool; oaf; esp, a naive person often victimized: Don't talk like a schlemiel, you schlemiel/ playing the lovable schlemiel to Brooklyn Jews

[1892+; fr Yiddish shlemiel, probably fr the name of the main character in A von Chamisso's German fable The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl, 1813]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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