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also schlimazel, "born loser," 1948, from Yiddish shlim mazel "rotten luck," from Middle High German slim "crooked" + Hebrew mazzal "luck." British slang shemozzle "an unhappy plight" (1889) is probably from the same source.

A shlemiel is the fellow who climbs to the top of a ladder with a bucket of paint and then drops it. A shimazl is the fellow on whose head the bucket falls. [Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D.-N.Y.), 1986]

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



An awkward, unfortunate, maladjusted person; sad sack

[1940s+, but probably earlier; fr Yiddish shlimazel fr shlim mazel, ''rotten luck''; British slang shemozzle, shlemozzle, ''a muddle, an unhappy plight,'' is found by 1889 and is probably related]

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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