Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One, such as a social director or entertainer, who encourages guest or audience participation.
  • n. One who incites others to action.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An employee - usually male - of a Catskill Mountains resort charged with the duty of entertaining guests throughout the day by providing any number of services, from comedian to master of ceremonies.
  • n. A lively, puckish man.

Etymologies

Yiddish tumler, from tumlen, to make a racket.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Yiddish, circa 1930, tuml(en) and -er. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Part resident comic, part activities director, part hotel cheerleader, the tummler - derived from the Yiddish word for noisemaker - was expected to field guest complaints, organize talent shows, jump into the pool fully clothed or dash screaming through the lobby pursued by a knife-wielding chef.

    Bull Moose

  • I was going to say Abe Rosenthal called me a tummler, which is Yiddish for a sort of mover and shaker.

    The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and the New York Times

  • As in previous shows, she re-creates a Sophie Tucker routine, "Max From the Income Tax," which ostensibly is about economic chaos but reveals more about her fascination with Tucker, a Jewish tummler who for 60 years made herself the butt literally of her own jokes about being a zaftig farbissina.

    Highlights and Dark Nights

  • Teaching piano, she also played at rehearsals for producer Max Liebman when Danny Kaye (born David Daniel Kominsky), a Catskill tummler, auditioned for “Sunday Night Varieties” at Tamiment in the Poconos.

    Sylvia Fine.

  • In fact, when Reiner brought the character back after 30 plus years on an episode of 'Mad About You', it was hinted that he did carry on back in his Catskills tummler days.

    O'BSERVATIONS: THE LETTERMAN CASE

  • To put patients at ease, he banters like a borscht-belt tummler, delivering a stream of corny old jokes.

    A Touch of Grace:

  • If you were not my own son, and if instead she was my daughter, I would not let her go out with a tummler like you.

    Closing Time

  • Abe Rosenthal called me a sort of inveterate tummler.

    The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men, and the New York Times

  • He nearly died from pneumonia last year and gets around in a wheelchair, difficult for a fizzy, rubbery-faced tummler who once danced a soft-shoe if you pointed a camera at him.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Towards evening we saw some dolphins, called also _tummler_, or tumblers, as well as several gulls, which announced to us that we were fast nearing the sea.

    A Woman's Journey Round the World

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "A startlingly flamboyant man who moves like Pee-wee Herman on amphetamines, Krazy Tyrone, né Paul Krohn, is the last of the Catskills ''tummlers,'' the in-house jesters whose sole job is to keep hotel guests amused before, during and after the all-you-can eat meals. "

    The New York Times, From the Catskills' Last House Jester, Kosher Corn, by Andrew Jacobs, August 5, 2005

    June 18, 2008