As in, “Die Schnibbler”.

Derogatory? Cute? Etymology? Root word? (...Yiddish?)

I see that it is used in German language books, and I've copied and pasted a bunch of examples to translate, but I can't gather even a wild guess as to what it might imply about someone.


  • 2
    I would assume the main form to be Schnippler with double-p, and immediately assumed Schnibbler to be Hessian, Franconian or Palatinate dialect.
    – Jan
    Mar 3, 2016 at 0:52

3 Answers 3


The corresponding verb to Schnibbler is schnibbeln, which is much more common.

It means to cut (literally to snip), usually into small pieces, and is mainly used in a family environment with children. The first things that come to mind are to cut vegetables for cooking and to cut paper for handicraft work with children (auseinanderschnibbeln).

It can also be used in a derogatory way for someone who is supposed to be very good at cutting, e.g. for a surgeon or hairdresser. With friends in might be used in a non-serious, friendly way, which shows familiarity.

Related words would be Schnipsel (engl. snippet), and apparently it is sometimes spelled schnippeln as well (http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/schnippeln).

  • Oh jeez. At the risk of causing a fire storm, and being removed from the room and beaten – I swear to Christ I'm not a troll – is it possible that such a term could be used as an obscure derogatory racial epithet towards an American male who is circumcised? (Not the doctor who did it, but the recipient of the “haircut”?)
    – Larry
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:48
  • 3
    @Larry: No, Schnibbler is clearly active, not passive. A circumcised person, independent of his nationality, could be called Beschnippelter, but it isn't used. But since you brought it up, the Mohel could be called that way, but it isn't done, either. Feb 25, 2016 at 12:14

Schnibbeln has a special meaning in football: to kick the ball in such a way that it gets a spin and its trajectory becomes curved. Hence, die Schnibbler could refer to a bunch of players who are good at this.

  • 1
    This is not restricted to schnibbeln, but also works with the standard form anschneiden, and Duden states its applicable to any game involving a ball.
    – guidot
    Feb 24, 2016 at 15:29
  • schnibbeln an sich kenne ich, aber im Fussball habe ich das noch nie gehört, könnte das Region/Dialektabhängig sein?
    – WayneEra
    Feb 25, 2016 at 6:56
  • @WayneEra Ob das regional ist weiß ich nicht. Es ist auf jeden Fall eines der Worte dafür. Feb 25, 2016 at 8:14
  • 1
    Man könnte auch einen Autofahrer, der nach dem Überholen immer früh einschert, Schnibbler nennen, oder jmd. der Kurven schneidet, sowie den Serienmörder mit Messer im Park (Augen auf!). :) Feb 25, 2016 at 12:15

An alternative meaning for Schnibbler (still derived from schnibbeln / cutting) is an prison inmate who hurts himself:

schnippeln, Schnippler, auch Schnibbler sich selbst verletzen, Selbstverletzer

as per Gefängnismedizin: Medizinische Versorgung unter Haftbedingungen ("Medicin in Prison: Medical Care under Prison Conditions").

  • Why do you want to restrict this to prison inmates? And also: typically, the self-hurting aspect is not done in a cutting but in a scratching manner, hence ritzen.
    – Jan
    Oct 30, 2016 at 22:12
  • 1
    Das klingt richtig, auch wenn ich hier auch "Schnippler" mit p statt b bevorzugn würde. Wir sind ja geine Frangen. Oct 31, 2016 at 3:35

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