Joe Schmo/Shmo is the average guy but the suffix” shm” is also used in other contexts.  Adding the syllable shm to the beginning of a word make it take on a negative connotation.  YThe word gets diminished, made fun off  or negated.

It took me a while to grasp the idea when I first moved here and kept wondering what schmancy meant, I only knew schmaltzy – and that wasn’t it.  Shmancy, of course, is the shm-form of fancy and it is one of the more a frequently used shm-forms you’ll hear.  Most always the correct word is said first and then the derogatory form right afterward.  For shmancy this would look like this:

Feeling fancy shmancy, pic:

“We went to this fancy shmancy restaurant.  The food was totally over the top and super expensive.  Next time I am going to Tony’s Tavern again for a good old-fashioned burger.”

Shm can be used in front of pretty much any word – it might get a bit difficult to pronounce at times.  Here are a couple more examples:

“I hear it is going to rain tomorrow.” – “Rain, shmain, we are planning to go hiking.”

“I am so hungry.” – “Have an apple.” – “Apple, shmapple, I want a big steak with potatoes and an ice cream Sunday for dessert.

The shm-form appears to have its origin in Yiddish.


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