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nebbish

[neb-ish]
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noun Slang.
  1. a pitifully ineffectual, luckless, and timid person.
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Origin of nebbish

1890–95; < Yiddish nebekh poor, unfortunate, probably < Slavic; compare Czech nebohý poor; spelling with -sh perhaps < Western Yiddish forms of the word
Related formsneb·bish·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for nebbish

n.

1905, nebbich, from Yiddish (used as a Yiddish word in American English from 1890s), from a Slavic source akin to Czech neboh "poor, unfortunate," literally "un-endowed," from Proto-Slavic *ne-bogu-, with negative prefix (see un- (1)) + PIE *bhag- "to share out, apportion" (see -phagous).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper