Definition of nebbish in English:



informal mainly North American
  • A person, especially a man, who is regarded as pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive.

    • ‘He's a nebbish. No money, no prestige, no future’
    • ‘his nebbish sensibility’
    • ‘In the original, the men were cold and sinister; in the new version, they're nebbishes who need to be constantly drilled in masculine prerogatives by the head of the Men's Association.’
    • ‘There's nothing special about us… just a coupla nebbishes…’
    • ‘Meanwhile, in the ‘comedy,’ Melinda is the downstairs neighbor of an ambitious film director, Susan, and her nebbish husband, Hobie.’
    • ‘Allen was never a pretty picture, but his famous nebbish looks and wimpish physique did convey a certain elfish charm.’
    • ‘You keep expecting Marcello Mastroianni; but instead, what you get is Miles, an angst-ridden nebbish, and Jack, a pathological philanderer.’
    • ‘Woody Allen is funny (then again, I'm a big fan, so I'm biased) as Tex, whining and being the nebbish we've all come to know and love.’
    • ‘All the same, Polanski ably blends comedy and pathos in his portrayal of the nervous nebbish Trelkovsky, which is important since he's in every scene. -’
    • ‘Leo is a neurotic nebbish of sizable proportions.’
    • ‘Gene Wilder is brilliantly understated as the Waco Kid, a stark contrast to the neurotic nebbish Leo Bloom in Brooks's The Producers.’
    • ‘So I'm talking to a rather fetching woman, when a nebbish second year inserts himself uninvited to our conversation.’
    • ‘A scrawny nebbish of a man, Moss is no Moore, to be sure.’
    • ‘Robert Webber plays Rogers as a nebbish, but along the way, his subtle movements and quirks help reveal a great deal about the character.’
    • ‘When this movie was made, Bill Gates was a little-known nebbish.’
    • ‘I still can't believe that a nebbish like Tony could possibly become a senior Government Minister.’
    • ‘There are those who will think I'm being a whiny nebbish, and I just don't care.’
    • ‘Which leaves Stern in the familiar role of the nebbish buddy who just wants to fit in.’
    • ‘In Shiver, a sexy bride and her nebbish hubby go to visit her cousins in their ancestral home.’
    • ‘Carrey's performance is not as consistently acute or concentrated; occasionally he is the stereotypical nebbish, but he too has his moments of depth.’
    • ‘Adam Rafferty as the nebbish Albert Peterson is perfect.’
    • ‘Allen, of course, hotly denies this, arguing that his lusty, maladroit, cowardly, witty and nebbish persona is a comic archetype.’
    • ‘Murphy's character flip-flops between obnoxious clown and likable nebbish, failing to ever find an appropriate balance.’
    • ‘Robert Dayton plays a recently divorced nebbish who decides to refashion himself as a ladies man.’



/ˈnebiSH/ /ˈnɛbɪʃ/


Mid 19th century (as adjective, in the form nebbich): from Yiddish nebekh ‘poor thing’.