To give someone (often, a student or child) an encouraging nudge in the right direction. Yiddish origin.
i.e. Hannah is a decent student, but she needs a little shmoop to get started on her homework.

In the Web 2.0 world, Shmoop equals a great web site that publishes free online social studies and literature study guides. There are currently over 800 published guides with 34 new guides online this week. Shmoop’s mission?

To make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age.
Shmoop will make you a better lover (of literature, history, life). See many sides to the argument. Find your writing groove. Understand how lit and history are relevant today. We want to show your brain a good time.

Each guide contains overviews, resources, web sites, opposing views and more. The history guide, The 1950s, for example, is broken down in nine sections:


Shmoop also provides iPod Touch / iPhone apps, Facebook support and lots of other ways to connect information with people. While Shmoop is obviously designed for students, they have also put together a nice teachers’ page that

Shmoop impresses me because it is intentionally about learning, and the joy of learning, not just about passing courses and jumping through educational hoops.

Paul Hamilton

But who’s writing the guides?

David Siminoff – Literature lead:
Honors in English from Stanford; studied English literature at Oxford; MFA from USC School of
Cinema and Television; MBA from Stanford; published author and award-winning screenwriter

Nate Gillespie – Shmoop History lead:
Ph.D. candidate in US History at Stanford; MA and BA (with distinction and honors) in
History from Stanford; founding director of Stanford History Graduate Memory Project; winner
of Stanford Centennial Award for Outstanding Teaching of undergraduates

Get a nice overview of the site and possible uses here.