Dec 16, 2011
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish
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.
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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!
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.
*Member of the Tribe. Just sayin’.