really? this is your list?

The Magic of Words

Dec 16, 2011

This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish

This week’s words


with Anu Garg





noun: One who deals in inferior goods.


From Yiddish shlak (evil, nuisance) + German Meister (master). Earliest documented use: 1965.


“Schlockmeister Ed Wood was supposedly the world’s worst director.”
Philippa Hawker and Jake Wilson; Top 10 Films; The Age (Melbourne, Australia); Jul 17, 2010.

“You’re a Harvard historian, for god’s sake, not a pop schlockmeister looking for a quick buck.”
Dan Brown; The Da Vinci Code; Doubleday; 2003.

Your comments

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From: mysending
Subject: this week’s words

Really? I thought for sure you’d mention the word “shvitz”. That to me is a marker of how Yiddish has entered the American language. But I guess schlockmeister is more prevalent, or interesting, or however you figure these things out!

True story:

Years ago, I met someone who presented herself as Jewish, but I just couldn’t figure out where she belonged in the range of Jewish experiences. It was a very hot summer day and we were outside waiting for a camp bus to come bringing our big girls. I said, “Whew! I’m really shvitzing!”, or something similar, but for sure using the word shvitzing.

She said “What?”

Oh then I knew. She was definitely not an MOT* from birth.

Or from New York.

Or Hollywood!

*Member of the Tribe. Just sayin’.


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