- an obnoxious or contemptible person.
Origin of schmuck
Examples from the Web for schmuck
But quite unlike the schmuck, and this is the fun part, they never run up the white flag; indeed quite the opposite.Steve Scalise and the Right’s Ridiculous Racial Blame Game
January 2, 2015
Unlike that Obama schmuck, who they regard as a total loser.CPAC: Come for the Crazy, Stay for the Party
March 7, 2014
By contrast, Anglophones have been using words like schmuck, putz, mamzer, and gonif for only a century or so.Mazel Tov, Arvind! But Are You Sure It’s Not Kneydl?
May 31, 2013
Rudy looked like a schmuck, and I'd say Lhota is looking like one today.Offensive Art: Those Were the Days
March 28, 2013
This year, that schmuck is Florida senator and 2016 hopeful Marco Rubio.Marco Rubio And The State of the Union Response Speech Curse
February 12, 2013
Mr. Schmuck was an excellent "paterfamilias," and took great care of children.
Mr. Schmuck is one of the well known and highly esteemed citizens of Walla Walla.
He gave to the city of Colfax what is known as Schmuck Park and many other evidences of his public spirit could be cited.
Mr. Schmuck sat in his chair with a sweet smile, and putting his hands together twirled his thumbs.
- US slang a stupid or contemptible person; oaf
Word Origin and History for schmuck
also shmuck, "contemptible person," 1892, from East Yiddish shmok, literally "penis," probably from Old Polish smok "grass snake, dragon," and likely not the same word as German Schmuck "jewelry, adornments," which is related to Low German smuck "supple, tidy, trim, elegant," and to Old Norse smjuga "slip, step through" (see smock).
In Jewish homes, the word was "regarded as so vulgar as to be taboo" [Leo Rosten, "The Joys of Yiddish," 1968] and Lenny Bruce wrote that saying it on stage got him arrested on the West Coast "by a Yiddish undercover agent who had been placed in the club several nights running to determine if my use of Yiddish terms was a cover for profanity." Euphemized as schmoe, which was the source of Al Capp's cartoon strip creature the shmoo.
"[A]dditional associative effects from German schmuck 'jewels, decoration' cannot be excluded (cross-linguistically commonplace slang: cf. Eng. 'family jewels')" [Mark R.V. Southern, "Contagious Couplings: Transmission of Expressives in Yiddish Echo Phrases," 2005]. But the English phrase refers to the testicles and is a play on words, the "family" element being the essential ones. Words for "decoration" seem not to be among the productive sources of European "penis" slang terms.