Tuesday, April 05, 2005
shibboleth noun [SHIB-uh-lith, -leth] a peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular class or set of persons.
Definitions for shibboleth
- a peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular class or set of persons.
- a slogan; catchword.
- a common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.
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Citations for shibboleth
The latter air is indeed the shibboleth and diploma piece of the penny whistler; I hazard a guess it was originally composed for this instrument.
“There’s been talk about the continental free trade agreement for many, many years, but it’s been more like a shibboleth that shows you’re committed to regional integration on the continent,” said Christopher Wood, an expert on economic diplomacy at the South African Institute of International Affairs.
Origin of shibboleth
Shibboleth entered English from the Hebrew shibbōleth meaning “freshet.” The term was used by the Gileadites as a test to detect the fleeing Ephraimites, who could not pronounce the sh sound.