Schnorrer (Yiddish) - person who is a cheapskate, someone who wants something for nothing when they don't deserve it. Also: people who expect a lot of help from you and demand it in an aggressive manner.

Everything in the original writeup is correct. I am adding a few things.

First, the etymology of the term. The Yiddish term is best transliterated 'shnorer', and it comes from Middle High German snurren, to hum or whir. This apparently comes from the sounds of the musical instruments played by beggars.

I believe that the term is also used in a semi-technical sense to describe the men who circulate at orthodox social events (bar mitzvahs and the like), collecting money for various causes. Their behavior is seen as being basically a shakedown, as the participants are under a kind of obligation to share the joy of the event, so they are forced to give. These semi-pro schnorrers receive a commission, which may be a large cut of the funds they raise. Given that we're working on Yiddish terms here, call it a 'vig'.

Schnor"rer (?), n. [Yiddish, fr. G. schnurrer, fr. schnurren to hum, whir, hence, from the sound of the musical instrument used by strolling beggars, to beg.]

Among the Jews, a beggar.


© Webster 1913

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