Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"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).
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]