questionswhat is the difference between a schlemiel and a…

vote-for16vote-against
vote-for4vote-against

Is there something I'm missing?

vote-for3vote-against

I've heard a schlemiel is a drunk and a schlimazel is a loser. Do they even have literal translations?

@falcondeal: Laverne and Shirley, 70s TV show. It's from the opening credits.

vote-for3vote-against

I've heard that in old vaudeville shows one was the comedian and one was the straight man. Similar to your initial description I guess.

vote-for10vote-against

Both of these words are taken from the Yiddish language. Both these words really mean very similar things.

Schlemazel is a loser. Someone with bad luck. Or in Yiddish, has no "mazel". ("schle"= no; "mazel"= luck) It is also used to refer to a clumsy person.

Schlemiel is not used as often anymore. It is very similar. It means an ineffectual person, inept person; a person who is easily victimized.

You can look it up at http://yiddishdictionaryonline.com/ , a free online Yiddish dictionary.

vote-for0vote-against

You are missing a word.Shmegege (see Yiddish dictionary- a fool).

A shlemiel is a person who not meaning to, causes an accident.For example, a diner at a restaurant sticks his leg out in an aisle, and causes a waiter to trip over it.

The shlemazel is a waiter, carrying a bowl of soup, is the one who has the accident happen to him through no fault of his own. Accidents happen to shlemazels.

The shmegege is a diner at a nearby table, totally uninvolved in the accident or its cause, has the bowl of soup fall on his head.

I learned this from my mother about 70 years ago