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schlimazel or shlimazel (shli-MAH-zuhl) noun
Someone prone to having extremely bad luck.
[From Yiddish, from shlim (bad, wrong) + mazl (luck). A related term is mazel tov (literally, good luck) used to convey congratulations or best wishes.]
A schlimazel can be concisely described as a born loser. No discussion of schlimazel could be complete without mentioning his counterpart: schlemiel, a habitual bungler. They go together:
A schlemiel is one who always spills his soup, schlimazel is the one on whom it always lands.
A schlimazel's toast always falls butter-side down. A schlemiel always butters his toast on both sides.
"No one would deny (Virginia Governor Mark) Warner took office under lousy
conditions - facing an opposition-party legislature during a recession -
which qualifies him as a schlimazel."
"He (Uncle Danny) ticked off the names on the Pirates' roster. 'Abrams,
Gordon, Kravitz, Levy - what are we running, a shlimazel farm?'"
This week's theme: Words borrowed from other languages
Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life. -Giorgos Seferis, writer, diplomat, Nobel laureate (1900-1971)