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In Disney's Hercules there's a scene (at 57:30 on Disney+, or on Youtube) in which Megara tries to convince Hercules to spend some time with her instead of doing whatever his trainer Phil planned for him. The conversation goes like this:

Megara: You sound like you could use a break. Think your nanny goat would go... Berserk if you played hooky this afternoon?
Hercules: Oh gee. I don't know. Phil's got the rest of the day pretty much booked.
Megara: Ah, Phil, schmill. Just follow me. Out the window, round the dumbbells, you lift up the backwall and we're gone.

(Phil is a satyr, which is why Meg calls him a goat.)

What does "schmill" mean? The only definition I've found is on Urban Dictionary, which says it means "a fat jewish person".

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    Ah, dictionary schmictionary.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 2, 2021 at 16:59

1 Answer 1

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There is a common usage in Yiddish-influenced English (aka Yinglish) (at least in the US) in which a word is followed by a variant with an "sh" or "sch" sound at the front, replacing the first sound, to indicate dismissal or minimization of the word. Most often this is done in response to a statement or question, and the variant is not a valid word on its own and has no separate meaning.

Examples:

Person A: Its your job to help him.

Person B:Job shmob, I help because I feel sorry for him.

or

Person A: I want to be kind to him.

Person B: Kind , schmind, you must do what is right.

If the scene refereed to in the question is an example of this device, as I strongly suspect, "schmill" is not a word at all, merely a verbal device to say that Phill and his wishes are not important.

This device is essentially verbal. It is normally used in writing only in the representation of dialog.

This was originally exclusive to Yinglish, but became normalized in the speech of New York City and other places where Yiddish-influenced speech was common. It is probably fading again now.

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