noun Etymology: Hebrew shibbōleth stream; from the use of this word in Judges 12:6 as a test to distinguish Gileadites from Ephraimites Date: 1638 1. a. a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning <
the old shibboleths come rolling off their lips — Joseph Epstein
b. a widely held belief <
today this book publishing shibboleth is a myth — L. A. Wood
c. truism, platitude <
some truth in the shibboleth that crime does not pay — Lee Rogow
2. a. a use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group <
accent was…a shibboleth of social class — Vivian Ducat
b. a custom or usage regarded as distinguishing one group from others <
for most of the well-to-do in the town, dinner was a shibboleth, its hour dividing mankind — Osbert Sitwell

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shibboleth — (IPAEng|ˈʃɪbəlɛθcite encyclopedia|ency=Oxford English Dictionary|edition=second|year=1989|article=shibboleth] or IPAEng|ˈʃɪbələθcite web|work=Merriam Webster Online Dictionary |title=shibboleth |url=http://m] ) is any… …   Wikipedia

  • Shibboleth — se refiere a cualquier uso de la lengua indicativo del origen social o regional de una persona, y de forma más amplia cualquier práctica que identifique a los miembros de un grupo, una especie de santo y seña. Etimología Su origen es la palabra… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Shibboleth — Shib bo*leth, n. [Heb. shibb[=o]leth an ear of corn, or a stream, a flood.] 1. A word which was made the criterion by which to distinguish the Ephraimites from the Gileadites. The Ephraimites, not being able to pronounce sh, called the word… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shibboleth — late 14c., the Hebrew word shibboleth flood, stream, also ear of corn, in Judges xii:4 6. It was the password used by the Gileadites to distinguish their own men from fleeing Ephraimites, because Ephraimites could not pronounce the sh sound.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shibboleth — The primary meaning in current English is ‘a custom or phrase that distinguishes a particular class or group of people’, either one approved of or one deprecated in others • (Apparently, to wear a hat in the cafeteria was a student shibboleth I.… …   Modern English usage

  • shibboleth — index catchword Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • shibboleth — *catchword, byword, slogan …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • shibboleth — ► NOUN ▪ a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people. ORIGIN originally in the sense «a word or sound which a foreigner is unable to pronounce»: from Hebrew, ear of corn (according to the Book of Judges,… …   English terms dictionary

  • shibboleth — [shib′ə leth΄, shib′ələth] n. [ME sebolech, after LL(Ec) sciboleth < Heb shibolet, a stream: pres. meaning from the use of the word as a test word] 1. the test word used by the men of Gilead to distinguish the escaping Ephraimites, who… …   English World dictionary

  • Shibboleth — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Shibboleth (homonymie). Un shibboleth (ou schibboleth (שבולת en hébreu, prononcé [ʃibɔ …   Wikipédia en Français

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