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See also: Schmuck and schmück


Alternative forms[edit]


From Yiddish שמאָק(shmok, penis, foreskin, fool). Further origin uncertain. Probably from Old Polish smok (dragon), akin to Bulgarian смок (smok, grass snake). Perhaps akin to onomatopoeic Russian смоктать (smoktatʹ) smoktat ("to suck") according to old belief that snakes suck milk from animals. Alternatively a baby-talk corruption of Yiddish שמעקל(shmekl), a dissimilated form of שטעקל(shtekl, penis/willy, literally little stick). Alternatively from the verb Middle High German smucken, archaic German schmucken, which has several meanings allowing possible semantic connections: 1.) “to squeeze, press, fit into something tight”; 2.) “to hug, snuggle, kiss”; 3.) “to adorn, decorate”. The last of these three senses is perhaps less likely, but compare German Schmuck (jewellery) with English crown jewels.


  • IPA(key): /ʃmʌk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌk


schmuck (plural schmucks)

  1. (colloquial, derogatory, US) A jerk; a person who is unlikable, detestable, or contemptible because he or she is stupid, foolish, clumsy, oafish, inept, malicious, or unpleasant.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:jerk
    • 1995 September, The Playboy Interview: Cindy Crawford, Playboy
      One day my girlfriend, her boyfriend and I were sunbathing topless because that's Barbados - you can wear nothing if you want. And the Pepsi guy walks up and with my agent to meet us for lunch. I wondered if I should put on my top because I have a business relationship with him. I didn't want him to get offended because the rest of the beach had seen me with my top off. Meanwhile, as he's walking towards me he's saying to my agent "I hope she puts on her top.". He wasn't even being a schmuck, like wanting to see.
  1. (colloquial, derogatory) A deplorable, pitiful person; often in the form poor schmuck.
    • 1971, Jules Feiffer's screenplay for Mike Nichols's film Carnal Knowledge:
      [Jack Nicholson's character Jonathan:] Bad vibrations? Sandy, I love you, but you're a schmuck. You were always young, Sandy, open. You were schmucky a lot of the time, but maybe schmuckiness is what you need to stay young and open.

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Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from Middle Low German smuk (supple, bendsome, pleasing, beautiful, petite, cute) (compare Middle Low German smuk (ornament, jewellery)), from Old Saxon *smuk, *smukk, from Proto-Germanic *smukkaz (flexible, bendsome, easy), from Proto-Indo-European *smewg- (to slip, glide, slide).



schmuck (strong nominative masculine singular schmucker, comparative schmucker, superlative am schmucksten)

  1. (dated) pretty, spruce


Further reading[edit]

  • schmuck” in Duden online
  • schmuck” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache