German Language/schmutter/shmutter


Dan wrote at 2008-12-21 02:26:31
Actually there is no American word schmutter.  The word is shmatte, from the Yiddish for old rag (as in "you're going out in THAT shmatte?")

In Yiddish, schmutter would be pronounced "shmootehr," which would be an entirely different word.  Shmatte is pronounced "shmahteh."

Schmutter is the name of a river in Germany near Augsburg.


Jim wrote at 2009-11-05 17:21:24
Schmutter is the surname of my German forbears and also the name of a 76km river in Bavaria, Germany. "Smoother" is the surname it was translated into for English. The term Schmutter is used within parts of Australia to this date as nice clothing or cloth. Example: Wow, how good do you look in that Schmutter? or Put on your best Schmutter and lets get out of here.

Dan wrote at 2011-02-06 22:21:10
This is a common misconception.  The word schmutter does not mean rag.  The Yiddish word shmateh means rag (as does the related polish word szmata (ph?)).

These words would be pronounced roughly shmah-teh.  "Schmutter" would be pronounced both in Yiddish and in German shmoo-tehr. It is an entirely different word.

The word schmutter comes from a river in Germany near Augsberg called "Schmutter."


Tupsharru wrote at 2015-09-12 09:45:04
Not German...Polish

German Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Cornelia Neumann


I can answer questions regarding grammar and style, as well as many questions about German culture, history, and literature.


I am native speaker with a German degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and German. I lived and worked in the USA for seven years (taught high school and all college levels) and spent three years as a high school teacher of German and EFL at an international school in Mexico. In 2006 I returned to Germany, where I am currently working as a teacher in Hamburg.

M.A., M.Ed., ABD, etc. etc.

Awards and Honors
As is a volunteer site I've opted not to get rated - don't let that put you off though. :-)

©2017 All rights reserved.