"the whole schlemiel"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 20 19:48:02 UTC 2009

At 1:07 PM -0500 8/20/09, Jim Parish wrote:
>David A. Daniel wrote:
>>  Unless I missed something here... MW has schlemiel as "an unlucky
>>  bungler" so what you've got here is, I guess, a malapropism (for whole
>>  shmear) as it certainly could never, ever, under any circumstances, be
>>  an eggcorn.
>Has anyone claimed that it is?

Not unless it's guilt by association.  Victor Steinbok mentioned it
as a yidcorn, which is not necessarily an eggcorn, and in the same
sentence alluded to the reanalysis of "mano a mano" as 'man to man'
(see also my previous message), which *does* involve eggcorns (as
noted there).  But I agree "the whole shlemiel" is a simple


>I mentioned only as an interesting
>construction, that I had never encountered it before. (We do discuss
>other things besides eggcorns, do we not?)
>Jim Parish
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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