or schle·mihl, shle·miel
- an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.
Origin of schlemiel
schlemihl or shlemiel
- US slang an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail
Word Origin and History for shlemiel
"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).