I received a letter addressed to the previous tenant and I asked her if she wants me to forward it to her. In the end she told me it is just some Schnorrbrief from Uganda.

Do you have any idea what a Schnorrbrief is? I cannot find it in the dictionary and Google translate is not helpful either.

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    Also note, that this word is not part of the official german language. See Duden. As a german, I hear this the first time today. Probably it is some dialect of an other german speaking country. – Christian Gollhardt Sep 20 at 20:31
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    @ChristianGollhardt No, this is not correct. In german you can combine a noun with another word to get more specific, by just putting them into one word. This is opposed to english where you rarely do it, like "morning coffee". You won't find the words "Käsereibe" oder "Käsemühle" in the Duden, although these are perfectly valid german words. – Javatasse Sep 21 at 0:53
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    @ChristianGollhardt: There is no such thing as an official vocabulary of German. There only is an official orthography. – Wrzlprmft Sep 21 at 6:15
up vote 37 down vote accepted

Schnorrbrief is the combination of Schnorrer (or from the verb schnorren) and Brief (letter).

Schnorrer is also explained in the English Wikipedia:

Schnorrer (שנאָרער; also spelled shnorrer) is a Yiddish term meaning "beggar" or "sponger".1 The word Schnorrer also occurs in German to describe a freeloader who frequently asks for little things, like cigarettes or little sums of money, without offering a return.

You could also say Bettelbrief (begging letter)

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    Upvoted, but I think the direct connection to the prefix "Schnorr" would be the verb "schnorren" rather than the noun "Schnorrer" (as is usual with nouns prefixed by an "action", cf. "Bettelbrief", "Werbeprospekt" ...). – O. R. Mapper Sep 20 at 6:48
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    Can you say schnorren as a verb? Something like "Ich moechte dir eine Zigarette schnorren" for "I'd like to bum a cigarette off you." – Wilson Sep 20 at 7:44
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    @Wilson Yes, you can. Though in your example it would be more like "Ich möchte eine Zigarette von Dir schnorren." – Kakturus Sep 20 at 7:57
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    @Wilson yes. you can use schnorren as verb. In my experience the noun and verb are only used in colloquial / informal environments. You would not use it for example at a convention asking if you can take one of the giveaway items. In this case you would rather say "Darf ich den Stift mitnehmen?" (Can I take the pen?). Between friends, you would say "Kann ich mir eine Zigarette schnorren?" if you want to get a free cigarette from your friend. Note, that schnorren is used as replacement for "nehmen" -> "Kann ich mir eine Zigarette nehmen?" – DBX12 Sep 20 at 7:57
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    @DBX12 You should note, however, that using “schnorren” with a reference to yourself carries the connotation that you are aware of your mooching. – lxg Sep 20 at 8:54

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