A schlemiel is a somewhat dopey, awkward person. You might angrily call your brother a schlemiel after he drops the cake you've spent all day making, stumbles, and sits on it.

Nothing every goes quite right for a schlemiel — he's the guy who never seems to get any good luck, and who's less than brilliant and not particularly graceful. A schlemiel in a movie is an object of fun, perfect for laughing at. In real life, it's pretty hard to be a schlemiel. The word schlemiel means "bungler" in Yiddish, from a character called Peter Schlemihl in a classic German fable.

Definitions of schlemiel
  1. noun
    (Yiddish) a dolt who is a habitual bungler
    synonyms: shlemiel
    see moresee less
    type of:
    simple, simpleton
    a person lacking intelligence or common sense
Word Family

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