schmooze

Alternative Spellings

shmues, shmooze

Definitions

  • to make small talk or informally chat; to network, kiss up

Example Sentences

  • "Avoid that conference at all costs. Total shmooze-fest."
  • "I went to a party the other night and schmoozed with my boss."

Languages of Origin

Yiddish

Etymology

from Yiddish שמועסן shmuesn 'to converse, chat' (verbal stem is שמועס shmues), originally from Hebrew שמועות 'things that are heard'

Who Uses This

Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)

Regions

North America

Dictionaries

The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

Notes

Originally used only with the Yiddish meaning ('chat'), this word has changed in American English and now also means 'network'. It has also changed from being intransitive to being both intransitive and transitive (now we can "shmooze with somebody," "shmooze somebody," or "shmooze up" somebody we want to curry favor with).

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