Schlep, Shmaltz and Schmooze……


Schlep comes from the Yiddish word “shlepn,” meaning to “drag” or “pull,” and it has retained this meaning in one of its modern uses, in which it is synonymous with the English word “lug.” It is more frequently used, though, to describe an arduous or difficult journey and, most recently, to describe any journey, however short or simple, that you simply can’t be bothered to make.
In brutally literal terms “schmaltz” is rendered chicken or goose fat that is clarified and eaten spread on bread, in the way that lard used to be before we knew about the dietary causes of heart disease. It arrived in English in the 1930s courtesy of Yiddish-speaking Jews who used it in this culinary sense, but it has been adapted by English speakers, along with the newly coined “schmaltzy” to describe something excessively maudlin or “dripping” with sentimentality.
Schmooze is one of those brilliant words that perfectly distills into a single syllable a fairly complex social interaction. It is believed to originate from the Hebrew word “schmu’ot,” which translates as “reports” or “gossip,” and is used in Yiddish, and now English, to describe the act of exchanging small talk with someone in order to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with them. It’s the “chatting-up” of the business world.

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