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Sep 28, 2011
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
boswell
quisling
schlemiel
augean
celadon

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

schlemiel or schlemihl or shlemiel

PRONUNCIATION:
(shluh-MEEL)

MEANING:
noun: An inept, clumsy person: a habitual bungler.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Yiddish shlemil, from Hebrew Shelumiel, a Biblical and Talmudic figure who met an unhappy end, according to the Talmud. Earliest documented use: 1892.

NOTES:
No discussion of schlemiel would be complete without mentioning schlimazel, one prone to having bad luck. In a restaurant, a schlemiel is the waiter who spills soup, and a schlimazel is the diner on whom it lands.

USAGE:
"Warren is an endearing schlemiel who is all awkward gestures, inexpressive shrugs, and with a physical clumsiness."
Set Misses Mark But Cast's Touch is Sure; Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand); Mar 3, 2008.

See more usage examples of schlemiel in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

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