Tuesday, April 05, 2005
shibboleth noun [SHIB-uh-lith; -leth] A peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular group of persons.
Definitions for shibboleth
- A peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular group of persons.
- A slogan; a catchword.
- A common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.
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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.
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.
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'.