also shlock Slang noun
Something, such as merchandise or literature, that is inferior or shoddy. adjective
Of inferior quality; cheap or shoddy.
Origin: Possibly from Yiddish shlak, apoplexy, stroke, wretch, evil, nuisance, from Middle High German slag, slak, stroke, from slahen, to strike, from Old High German slahan.
Our Living Language
- schlockˈy, shlockˈy adjective
A good number of English words borrowed from Yiddish (a variety of German with an admixture of Hebrew and Slavic elements) are recognizably of foreign extraction because they begin with sound combinations (shl-, shm-, shn-) not found at the beginnings of native English words. Schlock
is such a word; it is descended from a Middle High German word for a hit or blow, and thus came to refer to damaged merchandise, and then to merchandise of poor quality. Other words beginning with this and similar sound combinations are Yiddish also: schlep, schlemiel, schmooze, schmuck,
These words may not be equally common in all regions of the United States; they are most frequently heard in areas with sizable Jewish populations that either speak Yiddish or are descended from Yiddish speakers, such as New York City. Of course, not all Yiddish words borrowed into English begin with the sound (sh); one need only think of bagel, lox, blintz, nosh, meshugga,
to get a feeling for the variety of words that Yiddish-speaking Jews brought with them to America.