Schmuck is most often used in American English as a pejorative or insult, meaning an obnoxious or contemptible person; one who is stupid, foolish, or detestable.
Variants of spelling and alterations include shmuck, schmo and shmo.
Schmuck entered English as a borrowed pejorative from the common Yiddish insult, where it is an obscene term for penis. Its etymology is uncertain. The Online Etymology Dictionary derives it from the Polish word smok for dragon, as a euphemism for "penis".
In his book How to Talk Dirty and Influence People standup comedian Lenny Bruce wrote that he was arrested "by a Yiddish undercover agent" for saying the word "schmuck" onstage.
In German the word refers to jewelry, a trinket or a brooch, but its etymology is unrelated to the Yiddish word. Coincidentally, the Yiddish word has been borrowed into German too, however it is spoken and written as 'Schmock'.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Schmuck (pejorative). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|