"the whole schlemiel"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 20 17:22:31 UTC 2009

At 11:23 AM -0500 8/20/09, Jim Parish wrote:
>Seen in an online discussion of health-care reform:
>"I don't get it. Even if some Democrats want the whole schlemiel...
>[laundry list of possible features], it still doesn't change the fact that
>none of these things are in this particular bill."
>Google gives about 1470 hits for "whole schlemiel"; some are spurious
>("the whole 'schlemiel, schlemazel' thing"), but most seem to use it in
>place of "the whole schmear" or something similar.
Or, to switch ethnicities, "the whole shebang".  At least I assume
that's Hibernian, although the AHD says origin unknown.  "The whole
enchilada" is possible semantically, but unlikely to be a blend
source phonologically.  "The whole shmear"?  Really?  That seems
impossible to me, but then I know what a shmear is, at least in New
York.  "The whole megilla", yes, but again the phonology is off.


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