"usurer, merciless creditor," 1786, from Jewish money-lender character in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (c.1596).
Note: Shylock is a Jew, and there has long been controversy over whether Shakespeare's portrayal of Shylock contributes to prejudice against Jews. Shylock is a cruel miser and eventually is heavily fined and disgraced, but he maintains his dignity. At one point in the play, he makes a famous, eloquent assertion that his desire for revenge is the same desire that a Christian would feel in his place. “I am a Jew,” says Shylock. “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?”