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I was on this jewerly website Wempe and if you look they have a section titled Schmuck.

This is commonly known to mean idiot here in the U.S. Everything I look up to see what it means says pretty much the same thing: Jerk, Moron, etc.

I don't see why they would have a line called schmuck unless there was an alternate meaning in German.

I did try to translate the page but since that text is actual an image, it does not get translated.

So in the German language does schmuck mean moron, or something else?

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6  
Maybe I misunderstand you completely but "Schmuck" is the German word for "jewelery". Or is it something else you're wondering about? –  musiKk Oct 17 '11 at 18:56
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The more interesting question is in my eyes, how come "schmuck" is a pejorative term in (American) English? –  Jan Oct 17 '11 at 21:20
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It's not a "line called schmuck". That entire page is in German. You are looking at a German word. So please look it up in a German dictionary of your choice. Or just switch to the English version of the site where everything is conveniently translated for you. In its current form, this is a non-question. –  RegDwight Oct 17 '11 at 21:23
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@Tom I think that the negative sentiment comes from the fact that the OP looked up the word that he suspects to be German in several places, but not in a German-English dictionary. –  Phira Oct 17 '11 at 23:02
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The question on the etymology of "Schmuck" in US-American English belongs to ELU and thus is off-topic for GLU. Any dictionary I consulted translated Schmuck correctly (e.g. Google Translate says: jewelery jewelry decoration ornament adornment ornamentation embellishment array). –  Takkat Oct 18 '11 at 16:27

5 Answers 5

up vote 23 down vote accepted

When you follow from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmuck_%28pejorative%29 to the German version, you will see that in German the word is spelled Schmock, which is something completely different from Schmuck.

schmuck = Schmock

jewelry = Schmuck

It seems to be a case of a false friend. And let me add that I didn't know the word Schmock.

Edit:

@Takkat: Schmu seems to be a different word. See en.wiktionary with equal meaning in de.wiktionary.

And here you find a List of English words of Yiddish origin.

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Schmuck is a Yiddish (mix of High German [and other tongues such as Slavic] and Hebrew) word that is a pejorative which can mean idiot but more commonly it is calling someone "the male genitalia" when I was growing up on the Lower East Side of NYC. While not Jewish myself, many caught on to the use of Yiddish.

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That makes a lot of sense, as you can address the male parts jokingly as "Kronjuwelen" etc... –  Landei May 23 '12 at 8:55

Read more on schmuck as "Mel Brooks Starts Nonprofit Foundation To Save Word 'Schmuck'" on http://www.theonion.com/articles/mel-brooks-starts-nonprofit-foundation-to-save-wor,2316/

Have fun!

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Schmuck is the Yiddish term for leftover skin after a bris.

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1  
No offense, but I don't think so. Have a look at the citations 1 and 2 in this article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmuck_%28pejorative%29 –  0x6d64 Aug 4 '12 at 8:53
    
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  Tom Au Aug 30 '12 at 19:12

schmuck = hübsch = pretty
Schmuck = something that makes you pretty

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