schlemiel

[shluh-meel]
noun Slang.
an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.
Also, schlemihl, shlemiel.


Origin:
1890–95; < Yiddish shlemil < Hebrew shəlumīʾēl Shelumiel, a Biblical and Talmudic figure

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World English Dictionary
schlemiel, schlemihl or shlemiel (ʃləˈmiːl)
 
n
slang (US) an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail
 
[Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781--1838)]
 
schlemihl, schlemihl or shlemiel
 
n
 
[Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781--1838)]
 
shlemiel, schlemihl or shlemiel
 
n
 
[Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781--1838)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

schlemiel
"awkward, clumsy person," 1892, from Yiddish shlemiel "bungler," from main character in A. von Chamisso's Ger. 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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