[Ads-l] "The whole schmeer/schmear" [Antedating, 1901, with a hint at 1900]

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 25 19:20:31 UTC 2021

OED has for its earliest example for "the whole schmear/schmeer" one from
Wisconsin, January 1909, which surprises me since I had assumed this was a
1930s Hollywood or New York thing. (In the 1909 case it's "schmeer.")

What follows are some earlier appearances.

-- Bonnie


Instead of marking our silk waists at $1.25 and $1.50 yd, what they are
actually worth -- we want a big silk sale and have consequently placed the
whole "schmeer" on sale at [blank] Fair Price 99c yd If they are not worth
$1.25 to $1.50 yd don't buy. (From an advertisement in The Halstead
[Kansas] Independent, 14 March 1901, p. 8. That "[blank]" indicates just a
blank space -- no doubt a printer was to insert a price or similar there.)

Jim's rathskeller was crowded and the flowing bowl passed freely. The whole
schmear was there, and everybody had a large, lovely time. (From "Stein
Shower a Big Success; Jim Dowdmeier Entertained His Friends Friday Night at
His Home in Lewisburg," The [Covington] Kentucky Post, 11 June 1904, p. 1.)


By the way, an article about a baseball game published in April, 1900
included "thus retiring the whole schmeer-case, as it were," because
Oakland shortstop Schmeer was involved in the play. It's possible that
"whole schmeer-case" is a play on "the whole schmeer," but I don't think
that's solid and I'm unsure what "case" means here. (The Evening Mail
[Stockton, CA], 16 April 1900, p. 2.)

Finally, here's one from December, 1909, so later than the OED's example,
but I was interested in its appearance in Nebraska.


Dear reader, did you ever see angels in your dreams? Cross-eyed angels with
green Santa Claus whiskers and horns like a Texas steer? The writer did,
and the whole schmear was caused by eating an indigestible supper Wednesday
evening. But it wasn't a blamed bit funny while it lasted. (The Norfolk
[Nebraska] Press, 24 December 1909, p. 1.)


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

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