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Alternative forms[edit]


From Hebrew שְׁמוֹנָה (shmoná, eight), referring to 8:00 a.m. when the cells were searched each morning in the Odessa prison prior to the communist revolution.

Gračev does not give an etymology.[1] Krysin claims a Yiddish origin, without quoting the Yiddish form.[2] Elistratov compares with dialectal шмон (šmon, idler, loafer), шмо́ны (šmóny, idleness), on the possible German–Yiddish origin of which see Vasmer.[3][4]

Has also been connected with slang ашмала́ш (ašmaláš, feeling up during a search), which is of Turkic origin.[5]



шмон (šmonm inan (genitive шмо́на, nominative plural шмо́ны, genitive plural шмо́нов)

  1. (criminal slang) shakedown, raid, body search, search (a sudden, unexpected checkup or raid, as a police check)
  2. a sharp, unpleasant smell


Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Gračev, M. A. (2003), “шмон²”, in Slovarʹ tysjačeletnevo russkovo argo [Dictionary of Thousand Years of Russian Argot] (in Russian), Moscow: Ripol Classic, page 1063b
  2. ^ Krysin, L. M. (2006), “шмон”, in Tolkovyj slovarʹ inojazyčnyx slov [Explanatory Dictionary of Foreign Words] (in Russian), Moscow: Eksmo, page 888b
  3. ^ Jelistratov, V. S. (2000), “шмон”, in Slovarʹ russkovo argo (materialy 1980–1990 gg.) [Dictionary of Russian Argot (materials from 1980–1990)] (in Russian), Moscow: Russkije slovari, page 558a
  4. ^ Vasmer, Max (1973), “шмон”, in Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), volume IV, translated from German and supplemented by Trubačev O. N., Moscow: Progress, page 460
  5. ^ Anikin, A. Je. (2007), “ашмалаш”, in Russkij etimologičeskij slovarʹ [Russian Etymological Dictionary] (in Russian), volume I, Moscow: Rukopisnyje pamjatniki Drevnej Rusi, page 355