New Word Wednesday: “Schmuck”

Here’s your new word for the week!

 

Schmuck noun, German

  • jewelry

also,

schmuck noun, American English, perjorative

  • one who is stupid or foolish; or an obnoxious, contemptible or detestable person

Origin: originally the Yiddish word for penis, but considered more vulgar in Jewish homes than in the way it’s used in English.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmuck_(pejorative)

 

Apparently the German and Yiddish words have nothing to do with each other. The German word “Schmock” would be closer to the original Yiddish. However, the similarity does make it really easy to remember. Wikipedia suggests that the phrase “the family jewels” was derived from the transition of the word from meaning “jewel” to meaning “penis”. Etymology is actually one of my favorite ways to remember words: that way, I have a story to connect to the word and it has meaning other than just being a group of syllables.

 

Enjoy your new word!

Cheers,

-H

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