Joe Shmoe

This article is about a fictional name. For the TV series, see The Joe Schmo Show.

Joe Shmoe (also spelled Joe Schmoe and Joe Schmo and "Yo Hschmo"), meaning 'Joe Anybody', or no one in particular, is one of the most commonly used fictional names in American English. Adding a "Shm" to the beginning of a word is meant to diminish, negate, or dismiss an argument (for instance, "Rain, shmain, we've got a game to play"). This process was adapted in English from the use of the "schm" prefix in Yiddish to dismiss something; as in, "Fancy, schmancy." While "schmo" ("schmoo," "schmoe") was thought by some linguists to be a clipping of Yiddish "schmuck",[1] an etymology supported by the Oxford English Dictionary,[2] that derivation is not universally accepted.[3]

See also


  1. Feinsilver, Lillian Mermin (1956), "Schmo, Schmog, and Schnook", American Speech, Duke UP, 31 (3), pp. 236–37.
  2. The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, 1989, retrieved 2008-03-12.
  3. Gold, David L. (1988), "Review of Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America by Sol Steinmetz", American Speech, Duke UP, 63 (3), p. 276
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