or schle·mihl, shle·miel

[ shluh-meel ]
See synonyms for schlemiel on
  1. an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.

Origin of schlemiel

1890–95; <Yiddish shlemil<Hebrew shəlumīʾēl Shelumiel, a Biblical and Talmudic figure

Words Nearby schlemiel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use schlemiel in a sentence

  • A dirty schlemiel of a greenhorn like him should talk French!

    Abe and Mawruss | Montague Glass

British Dictionary definitions for schlemiel


schlemihl or shlemiel

/ (ʃləˈmiːl) /

  1. US slang an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail

Origin of schlemiel

Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781–1838)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012