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also shle·miel  (shlə-mēl′)
n. Slang
A habitual bungler; a dolt.

[Yiddish shlemíl, perhaps from Hebrew šəlūmî'ēl, my well-being is God, Shelumiel (a character in the Bible, Numbers 7:36) : šəlūmî, my well-being (šālôm, well-being; see šlm in Semitic roots + , my) + 'ēl, God; see ʔl in Semitic roots.]


(ʃləˈmiːl) ,




slang US an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail
[Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781–1838)]


or shle•miel


n. Slang.
an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.
[1890–95; < Yiddish shlemil < Hebrew shəlumī'ēl Shelumiel, a Biblical figure]


A Yiddish word used to mean an unlucky, clumsy, or long-suffering person.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.schlemiel - (Yiddish) a dolt who is a habitual bungler
Yiddish - a dialect of High German including some Hebrew and other words; spoken in Europe as a vernacular by many Jews; written in the Hebrew script
simpleton, simple - a person lacking intelligence or common sense


schlemihl [ʃləˈmiːl] N (US) (= clumsy person) → persona f desmañada; (= unlucky person) → persona f desgraciada


, schlemihl
n (US inf) → Schlemihl m, → Pechvogel m; (= awkward person)Tollpatsch m (pej)
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1976, Xu began researching Jewish American history and culture, translating works of Norman Mailer, Clifford Odets and others into Chinese and publishing articles such as "Jewish Humor" and "The Image of the Schlemiel in Jewish Literature," in which he likens the schlemiel to the wise fool in Chinese literature.
and her monograph The Schlemiel as Modern Hero, I have long enjoyed.
The satirical "Ballad about Isak Zilberson" featured a schlemiel who was a glorious failure.
The name of the "hero," Schlemilovitch, indicates his status as a schlemiel or ne'er-do-well, but also ensures that this particular Jew can don a variety of guises: martyr, king, clown, and also avenger.
And far before his problems with Mia Farrow came to light, a part of his admiring public were hopeful that he was just being modest, that it was just part of the gag, and that he was, in fact, the lovable, neurotic schlemiel he had come to represent.
sections in Ruth Wisse, The Schlemiel as Modern Hero (Chicago:
To be sure, the few citations from Varnhagen's letters hint at the bind in which Varnhagen found herself: the acute self doubt of "having been born a schlemiel, and a Jew
Ruth Johnston and Daniel Itzkovitz's essays posit the schlemiel as a link to past cultural representations of Jewish identity which have, in postmodern American film, been transformed.
Superficially reminiscent of fellow countryman Claude Chabrol's Hitchcockian oeuvre, Kahn imbues a distinctive streak of the absurd and droll, visual wit into this story of an ordinary schlemiel (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) whose road trip with his wife (Carole Bouquet) takes a nasty turn.
His verbal swagger is both impressive and pathetic - he is part city slicker, part schlemiel.
To be sure, the hapless Greg evolves from bumbling schlemiel and ever-changing suitor (a Zelig for the twenty-first century) in the initial installment of the series to a man who learns to take pride in his open-mindedness (he is a nurse) and difference (his Judaism) in the most recent much more obviously Jewish film.