AskDefine | Define schnorrer

Extensive Definition

For the WWII pilot with a similar name, see Karl Schnörrer.
Schnorrer (also spelled shnorrer) is a Yiddish term meaning "beggar" or "sponger". The word Schnorrer also occurs in German to describe a person, who frequently asks for little things like cigarettes or little sums of money, without offering a return, and has thus come to mean freeloader. The English usage of the word denotes a sly chiseller who will get money out of another any way he can, often through an air of entitlement. A schnorrer is distinguished from an ordinary beggar by dint of his boundless chutzpah. The term does not apply to begging or being homeless, but rather a habit of getting things (food, tools) rather than money by politely wanting to borrow them.
The term, which is used in a pejorative or ironic sense, can also be used as a backhanded compliment to someone's perseverance, cleverness, or thrift. For instance, Azriel Hildesheimer, known for his travels around Europe to spread his rabbinical wisdom to the poor, and for his refusal to accept payment for his services, was sometimes referred to as the "international schnorrer" for his reliance on the local community to house and feed him wherever he went. Israel Zangwill best described a schnorrer as a beggar who would chide a donor for not giving enough.

Schnorrers in film and literature

schnorrer in Czech: Schnorrer
schnorrer in German: Schnorrer
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