noun: 1. a comedian, social director, or entertainer who encourages an audience or guests to participate in entertainment activities.
2. one who incites others to action.
3. a lively, mischievous man.
From Yiddish tumler (one who makes a racket), from tumlen (to make a racket), from German tummeln (to stir). Earliest documented use: 1930s.
Notes (from Wordsmith)
Catskill resorts in the Catskill Mountains in New York State were a popular vacation destination for Jews during the last century. They were known as the Borscht Belt, after borscht, a type of beet soup popular with Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Tummlers were a standard fixture in these resorts.
Usage (from Wordsmith)
“And when Lou Goldstein proved adept at other forms of entertainment, the hotel signed him up as its tummler.”
Joseph Berger; Lou Goldstein; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Apr 29, 2012.