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[neb-ish] /ˈnɛb ɪʃ/
noun, Slang.
a pitifully ineffectual, luckless, and timid person.
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 forms
nebbishy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Word Origin and History for nebbishy



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for nebbishy



Having the character of a nebbish: plays a nebbishy student who acquires telekinetic powers/ Paul Reiser stars as a nebbishy playwright



A person without charm, interesting qualities, talent, etc; wimp: ''Nebbish'' is simply the one in the crowd that you always forget to introduce/ Don't be a nebbish/ poor little nebs like Julian

[1941+; fr Yiddish fr Czech neboky]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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