Word of the Day
Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Definitions for shibboleth

  1. A peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular group of persons.
  2. A slogan; a catchword.
  3. A common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.

Learn something
new every day


Thank youfor signing up
Get the Word of the Day Email
Citations for shibboleth
Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence. John Lahr,
The fish oil shibboleth is only the latest to be overturned in recent years. Vitamin supplements and fibre have also been found to provide no benefits. Nigel Hawkes, Times (London)
Origin of shibboleth
Shibboleth is from Hebrew shibboleth, "stream, flood," from the use of this word in the Bible (Judges 12:4-6) as a test to distinguish Gileadites from Ephraimites, who could not say 'sh' but only 's' as in 'sibboleth'.