or schle·mihl, shle·miel

[ shluh-meel ]
/ ʃləˈmil /

noun Slang.

an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.


Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of schlemiel

1890–95; < Yiddish shlemil < Hebrew shəlumīʾēl Shelumiel, a Biblical and Talmudic figure Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for schlemihl

British Dictionary definitions for schlemihl


schlemihl or shlemiel

/ (ʃləˈmiːl) /


US slang an awkward or unlucky person whose endeavours usually fail

Word Origin for 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