How do we call someone “a jerk” or “a stupid person” or “a fool” in Yiddish? For the answer, continue reading.
From The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know, we find:
A jerk, a stupid person, popularized in The Last Unicorn and Welcome Back Kotter.
This yiddish word is found not once, but twice, in the listing on the webpage Common Yiddish Terms in American English.
In the first occurrence of this Yiddish word, it is spelled as shmendrek in the column label of term, the definition column translates it as jerk; however, then the word is spelled differently in the sample use column that has the sentence “He’s a real schmendrick.”
The second occurrence has the word spelled as shmendrik, translated as fool, and with the sample use sentence “The kid is a real schmendrick”
Over at Slang-Dictionary.com, we find this:
schmendrick, Definition, noun American, a foolish or clumsy nonentity. A Yiddish word which is used by Jews and non-Jews alike in American speech. Shmendrik was a character in an operetta by Abraham Goldfaden.
ref: slang-dictionary/ definition/schmendrick
Who you calling a schmendrick?