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Shmohawk or schmohawk is a slang term that might have derived from schmo, a slang term meaning fool.[1] The HBO television show Curb Your Enthusiasm gave the word recent notoriety, and HBO even sells a Curb Your Enthusiasm schmohawk mug. [2] Earlier uses of the word can be found in the Crusader Rabbit animated cartoon "Crusader and the Schmohawk Indians", released in 1950[3] and in Saul Bellow's 1958 novel Henderson the Rain King.

Shmohawk or schmohawk is the word mohawk with the prefix shm-. In English, this prefix has a mocking or dismissive meaning. The shm- prefix's English language meaning is borrowed from the Yiddish language, in which the prefix has been used to similar effect.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1985 film Transylvania 6-5000, Jeff Goldblum's character calls Ed Begley, Jr.'s character a shmohawk after stating he didn't know Frankenstein was still alive.
  • In an episode from season 6 of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David, the main character, struggles through traffic while his wife Cheryl tries to impress upon her husband the scale of tragedy caused by a large hurricane. Larry yells out to another driver, "Hey dum dum. Go ahead. Move in," and this interaction reminds Larry that his father often used to call bad drivers "shmohawks." Larry continues to use the term in later episodes.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, second edition. Oxford University Press. 1989. 
  2. ^ "HBO Store - Curb your Enthusiasm: Schmohawk Mug". 
  3. ^ "Crusader Rabbit and the Schmohawk Indians". 
  4. ^ Elaine Gold (2002). "English Schmenglish". Proceedings of the 2002 annual conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association: 108–120. 

External links[edit]