A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

May 5, 2011

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Today we will have a very brief lesson in Yiddish. Today's word is shmatte. It is defined by Leo Rosten as follows.
  1. A rag.
  2. Cheap; junk.
  3. A softy, a pushover, unworthy of respect.
  4. A woman of weak character, weark will, or wicked ways; a slattern.
  5. A fawner; a sycophant; a toady.
He uses the following example to illustrate.

Paris: A Boutique
Mrs. Slovkovitz: How much is cette chemise?
Proprietress: Cette Chemise? Four hundred francs.
Mrs. Slovkovitz: Four hundred francs?! Mais it is un shmatte.
Proprietress: Un shmatte, Madam? Quelle chutzpa!

Okay, this illustration works best if you understand both French and Yiddish. So instead I will illustrate it simply.

This is a shmatte.