Definition of schlep in US English:


(also shlep, schlepp)


[with object]North American
  • 1Haul or carry (something heavy or awkward)

    ‘she schlepped her groceries home’
    • ‘Mostly I marched when I was told to march, sat down where I was told to sit down, schlepped what I was told to schlepp.’
    • ‘Actually, even the kitchen sink is fair game if it fits in the boat and can be schlepped across a portage.’
    • ‘When it comes to schlepping dairy products into the wilderness, leave the squishy Brie and sweaty cheddar at home.’
    • ‘We've been busting our humps schlepping our out-of-town visitors to tattoo parlours and stockyards.’
    • ‘He schleps your bags upstairs and helps to keep values in proportion along the Italian Riviera.’
    • ‘In fact, I had quite brazenly walked into the shop, filled my shopping bag with incendiaries, thanked and said goodbye to the owner's son, Allan, and then schlepped my ill-gotten goods into the deli next door.’
    • ‘It was a hot day, and I was already schlepping a half dozen heavy packages.’
    • ‘His punishment was to schlep a boulder up a hill, only for him to see it roll down the hill again once he had almost reached the top.’
    • ‘Now, all I have to do is schlepp everything back to the flat tonight.’
    • ‘Joseph's tax affairs (his whole reason for schlepping his emergent family to Bethlehem) must have been thrown into disarray by the sudden acquisition of gold that would be very hard to account for.’
    • ‘To train for schlepping the 200-plus pound sledges, he suggests that clients drag a string of tractor tires behind them on their favorite hikes.’
    • ‘Though the weak economy may lead people to schlepp their sofas on their own, those with a certain amount of stuff will always rely on movers.’
    • ‘I was up and out the door at a reasonable hour yesterday, so I stopped by the gym to drop my gear off so I didn't have to schlepp it to and from work as I usually do.’
    • ‘But independent contractors have usually had to schlepp broken machines to computer-repair shops; house calls were unheard of.’
    • ‘When camera gear needed to be schlepped up four decks, everybody schlepped it.’
    • ‘In many places around the country, you'll find a monthly antique flea market; sometimes, at the end of the day, sellers actually leave things behind because they don't want to schlepp them home.’
    • ‘Often I'm just too tired at the end of the day to schlepp over my scanner.’
    • ‘We'd all love the luxury of a driving service to pick us up, take us to the office and schlep us back home.’
    • ‘Should you happen to be schlepping your own canoe or kayak, take it to Riverside Park, where you can put in and take out with no need for a shuttle.’
    carry, lift, bear, tote, heave, hoist, shoulder, manhandle
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    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction (of a person) go or move reluctantly or with effort.
      ‘I would have preferred not to schlep all the way over there to run an errand’
      • ‘Only the audience knows of the cockroaches, and our main characters are schlepping around looking around for human killers.’
      • ‘So the first 125 pages are Alice and Jack schlepping around Northern European seaports and tattoo parlors in search of William.’
      • ‘We're actually quite a hopeful, not to say romantic, lot schlepping off to plays week after week in hopes of being swept off our feet.’
      • ‘Waking up and walking into other room vs. waking up and schlepping to work: the former is preferable.’
      • ‘Cracking our eyes open to the alarm clock, we pull on whatever is lying at the head of the bed or on the floor, schlepping out the door with layer upon layers and shuffling to class with our heads down, the icy wind bruising our necks.’
      • ‘For days at a time, a CEO must schlepp from city to city, pitching his or her company to skeptical investment bankers.’
      • ‘As she zips it up and starts modeling, she says, ‘I kept thinking about women schlepping around a city like New York.’’
      • ‘Two weeks, three continents, six airports, and two boat rides later, I'm in Bukit Lawang, at the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park in north-central Sumatra, about to schlepp to the park's western side.’
      • ‘You had the presence of mind to think of it, even after you'd schlepped over to see Jem.’
      • ‘Listen, I know the guy schlepped to Antarctica for a month searching for some damn albino penguin; thanks.’
      • ‘He considered going to drama school but ended up at Glasgow School of Art in 1968, which must have been a pretty good year to go schlepping up and down Sauchiehall Street with paint on your flares.’
      • ‘After a long day at the hospital, you're schlepping home to baby-sit me, instead of going straight to your own house and hopping into a nice warm bath.’
      • ‘I don't mean when you schlep out in the morning in your slippers and robe to pick up your newspaper - I mean actually wearing your house slippers to work, or even to restaurants and social functions.’
      • ‘But no, the lure of Mammon is so great that they've schlepped into town and braved the crowds for the dubious delights of risking death-by-stampede in the lighting department.’
      • ‘It is more because I have twice schlepped all the way down there (an hour on public transport) and found it - quite randomly - shut.’
      • ‘Even if they bring back memories of geography teachers schlepping around in the same faded pair for years, you can't budge for cords this winter.’
      • ‘That's why last week I schlepped out to Concordia's Loyola campus to watch a rehearsal.’
      • ‘You can't just schlepp around in a bustle and a train.’
      • ‘Unless you're the Rolling Stones, or one of those forgotten relics of the 1970s schlepping round the nostalgia circuit, you don't tour for profit; you tour to promote your latest release.’
      • ‘They end up schlepping for scraps at the beck and call of those who have taken over their little paradise.’


North American
  • 1A tedious or difficult journey.

    • ‘And he was sick of the weekly schlepp to the client site.’
    • ‘And the Hamptons are fun to visit, but it's a schlepp to get out there and it's more than we want to spend.’
    • ‘To be sure, it's a lot easier to garner favorable press reports than it is to get people to actually schlep to an often brutally cold, sparsely populated state.’
    • ‘Kind of a schlepp to get there, with it being on Randall's Island.’
    • ‘Lake Baikal is 15,000 miles and 12 time zones from New York, so expect your schlepp home to take anywhere from 30 to 48 hours.’
    • ‘And we said well yes, but it's such a long schlepp.’
    • ‘Thursdays ruled at the former club Business, and after that faded in the early '90s, gay evening adventure choices overwhelmingly meant a schlep down to the Village.’
    • ‘Make the schlep easier for her with a lingerie bag she can stash in one of your drawers.’
    • ‘Gum disease can involve multiple visits and if you have to go to Bristol once a week for six weeks it can become a bit of a schlep.’
    • ‘One hundred and forty miles might seem a schlep too far for nine seconds but the vedette in question has a house on the beach there and the context of the script demanded that she be filmed on the beach with a boy.’
    • ‘For Brown, visiting Gill at South Fork is a six-hour schlep that he's managed only three times.’
    • ‘Well, I had weathered the Oldreds department store, the Tescos supermarket and a schlepp around PC World, driving between each in sweltering sun.’
    • ‘However, that became a bit of a schlep, especially so when we emptied the soapy water into the cistern before going away on holiday once and returned home to an awful smell in the bathroom.’
    • ‘We have as much beauty right here without the schlep of city life.’
    • ‘You'll find a half-dozen of the best dive sites a short boat ride away, which lets you avoid the tiresome schleps to and from the city.’
    • ‘To use an inartful term, be aware of the schlep factor: At most events, expect to do a fair amount of walking.’
    hike, trek, slog, traipse, trudge, tramp, walk, march, route march, long haul
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  • 2

    another term for schlepper
    • ‘I admit that it would behoove him to learn something about pleasing his girlfriend sexually, but I don't think the poor schlep should have to be getting advice from the sexy ex.’
    • ‘What the hell do they want with a couple of schleps like us?’
    • ‘And because I am in a good mood, I decided to help out all you poor schleps here who don't know how to properly search for Chelsea pics.’
    • ‘I left the big house feeling like a worthless schlep.’
    • ‘Even though his character's a schlep, at least he's got a bit of personality.’
    • ‘The print people are mostly schleps, and the television world loves to get all dressed up for no good reason.’
    • ‘For all of you unlucky schleps out there who are only a few steps away from jumping off a bridge because they just can't seem to catch a break, relax, this film illustrates how there's a purpose for your existence after all.’
    • ‘The Rockies still haven't figured it out, but it's difficult to understand this year's strategy: Bring in a bunch of schleps for cheap.’
    • ‘It seems that this poor schlepp can't even get out of bed, never mind dressed.’
    • ‘What if my writing was even worse than the schlepps who wrote there regularly?’


Early 20th century (as a verb): from Yiddish shlepn ‘drag’, from Middle High German sleppen.