Interesting piece by Merrill Perlman about the word schneid, which we don’t seem to have discussed:
Merriam-Webster ... just recently added “schneid” with the definition of “a losing streak (as in sports).” A “losing streak” can encompass a slump and winlessness, so all bases are covered. The dictionary says it’s chiefly US slang, and traces its first use to 1969.
But “schneid” has been around a lot longer than that. If you’re shut out in gin rummy, for example, that’s called a “schneid.” We’ve been getting “schneided” in gin rummy for at least 40 years.
In its original English appearance, “schneider” was used in a three-handed card game called “skat,” a bidding and contract game similar to bridge. The Oxford English Dictionary traces it to 1886, when someone with only 30 points had a “schneider.” In a little mind trick, if you had 91 points, you won a double game, called a “schneider,” because the opponents had a “schneider,” 30 points or fewer.
“Schneider,” of course, is also a proper name, and its German origins offer a clue on how it came to mean a bad score. Literally translated as “tailor,” the word “schneider” brought with it, M-W says, “stereotypes of the tailor as poor, miserable, timid, or the like, as reflected in such expressions as (armer) Schneider ‘poor wretch’ (literally, ‘poor tailor’), er ist ein Schneider ‘he looks like death warmed-over’ (literally, ‘he is a tailor’), and the like.” Luckily for sports, it seems to have lost the stereotype but kept the connotation of “loser.”
The statement that it “has been around a lot longer than that” is oddly followed by “We’ve been getting ‘schneided’ in gin rummy for at least 40 years,” since forty years ago is 1977, hardly a lot longer ago than 1969.