or schle·mihl, shle·miel
- an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.
Origin of schlemiel
Examples from the Web for schlemihl
I suppose he's such a Schlemihl no father would ever look at him!
There is a haunting cold brightness about the Schlemihl etchings.George Cruikshank
W. H. Chesson
To his friends—if the few who were aware of his existence could be called friends—he was a Schlemihl (a luckless fool).
Ten years after its publication a new kind of lamp, which cast no shadow, was named the Schlemihl lamp.
I loved him, I repeat; and to this Schlemihl, whom I had not seen for many a year, we owe the following sheets.Peter Schlemihl
Adelbert von Chamisso
schlemihl or shlemiel
- US slang an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail
Word Origin and History for schlemihl
"awkward, clumsy person," 1868, from Yiddish shlemiel "bungler," from main character in A. von Chamisso's German fable "The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl" (1813), probably from Biblical name Shelumiel (Num. i:6), chief of the tribe of Simeon, identified with the Simeonite prince Zimri ben Salu, who was killed while committing adultery. (cf. schlemazel).