The use and spelling of schmear or shmear in American English is a direct loanword from Yiddish, where its original usage referred to cheese. In modern usage it has extended to anything that can be spread, such as cream cheese spread upon a bagel. In some cases, it refers to "an entire set or group of related things", or the expression "the whole shmear". It can also refer to bribery, as a "little extra" spread on top.
As a slang term, the word shmir in Yiddish can also refer to a slap on the face, primarily when disciplining young children.
Before 900; (v.) Middle English: smeren, smirien to rub with fat, anoint; Old English: smirian, smerian, smerwan; cognate with Dutch: smeren; German: schmieren, Yiddish: שמירן, Icelandic: smyrja, Old Norse: smyrja, smyrwa; (noun) in current senses derivative of the verb; compare obsolete smear: fat, grease, ointment; Middle English: smere; Old English: smeoru; cognate with Dutch: smear; German: schmieren, Old Norse: smjǫr, Swedish: smör – butter; Danish and Norwegian: smør – butter; Greek: σμύρις (smýris) – rubbing powder.
- "Now Shmear This". The Forward. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
- Waldman, Amy (1997-07-27). "Sushi With a Schmear?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
- "SHMEAR ME! ONE SMALL TOWN, CREAM CHEESE RULES.(News) - The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) | HighBeam Research". 2012-10-19. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
- Skenazy, Lenore. "OY VEY ES SCHMEAR! SOMETHING `UNHOLEY' IS BEING DONE TO THE BAGEL". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
- "Now Shmear This". The Jewish Daily. 2006-02-10. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- The dictionary definition of schmear at Wiktionary