Pop Culture dictionary


or shmoop [shmoop]

What does Shmoop mean?

Shmoop is a digital publishing company that makes study guides, book summaries, and other academic resources for students. They are known for the up-to-the-minute sense of humor they bring to their materials.

Shmoop can also be used as a term of endearment à la shmoopie.

Related words:

  • BookRags
  • CliffsNotes
  • GradeSaver
  • Please just read the book, kids
  • SparkNotes
  • baby doll

Where does Shmoop come from?


Officially called Shmoop University, Shmoop was founded in 2009 by David and Ellen Siminoff, who wanted to bring fun, accessible online learning guides to students. Shmoop was a term David Siminoff’s Yiddish-speaking grandmother used for “moving something forward a bit.” The Siminoffs thought Shmoop was the perfect name for their efforts to give students a little push with keep-it-simple-stupid homework help.

Early on in the website, shmoop was used as an in-house verb meaning “to do” (e.g., don’t forget to shmoop your homework). It also inspired variations like Shmoopers (or people who use Shmoop—students). These usages largely fell out by 2015.

Students have developed their own sense of shmoop for “reading book summaries on Shmoop in lieu of the actual book” (e.g., I shmooped The Great Gatsby … hope it’s enough for the quiz).

Examples of Shmoop

thanks to shmoop I just finished a three page analysis on a book I didn’t even read
@abigailmarie_27, January, 2018
Today, this little shmoop is a month old, but all she wants to talk about is why is housing considered a commodity, not a human right
@elamin88, May, 2017

It’s a site that combines Victor Frankenstein with a hipster, refers to George Orwell “ROFL-ing” and suggests that Lady Macbeth try a little hydrogen peroxide for her damned spot...Shmoop, an online learning resource that provides bulleted summaries and reference pages with a thorough dose of academic sass, has gained popularity with students...

Eliza Llewellyn, Inklings, November, 2013

Who uses Shmoop?

Shmoop was made for students, so the term is generally popular with students. It’s used among high-school students (the night before that essay is due; we know what you’re up to, Carl).

Naturally, use of Shmoop drops quite a bit when everyone is on summer break. No one is dying to read summaries of The Catcher in the Rye in July, apparently.

Shmoop is sometimes used as a shortened form of shmoopie, a term of endearment (almost as degrading as honey-poo).

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of Shmoop like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Shmoop that will help our users expand their word mastery.