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[shuh-mah, shmah] /ʃəˈmɑ, ʃmɑ/
noun, Judaism.
a liturgical prayer, prominent in Jewish history and tradition, that is recited daily at the morning and evening services and expresses the Jewish people's ardent faith in and love of God.
Origin of Shema
< Hebrew shəmaʿ listen! Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Shema
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In this palace a seal was found bearing a lion and the inscription belonging to Shema, the servant of Jeroboam.

    Archology and the Bible George A. Barton
  • The Inquisition was obliged to forbid the uttering of the word "Shema" with a threat of heavy punishment.

  • All turned to look at the speaker, and they whispered among themselves in surprise at hearing a monk recite the Shema in a schul.

    Rabbi and Priest Milton Goldsmith
  • To the commandments of the tongue belong the reading of the Shema, grace after meals, the priestly benediction, and so on.

  • Oesterley (in loco) adds that “the very parchment on which the Shema is written is efficacious in keeping demons at a distance.”

  • The Shema was followed by another benediction voicing gratitude for divine redemption.

    A Thousand Years of Jewish History Maurice H. (Maurice Henry) Harris
  • The other practical observances like prayer, the reading of "Shema," and so on.

British Dictionary definitions for Shema


the central statement of Jewish belief, the sentence "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is your God; the Lord is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
the section of the liturgy consisting of this and related biblical passages, Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and 11:13–21 and Numbers 15:37–41, recited in the morning and evening prayers and on retiring at night
Word Origin
Hebrew, literally: hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Shema

from Hebrew shema "hear!," imperative of shama "to hear." First word of Deut. vi:4.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Shema in the Bible

rumour. (1.) A Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:8). (2.) A Benjamite (1 Chr. 8:13). (3.) One who stood by Ezra when he read the law (Neh. 8:4). (4.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:26); the same as Sheba (ver. 5).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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