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[shek-uh l] /ˈʃɛk əl/
Also, sheqel. a paper money, cupronickel or silver coin, and monetary unit of Israel equal to 100 agorot: replaced the pound in 1980.
an ancient, originally Babylonian, unit of weight, of varying value, taken as equal to the fiftieth or the sixtieth part of a mina or to about a quarter to half an ounce.
a coin of this weight, especially the chief silver coin of the ancient Hebrews.
shekels, Slang. money; cash.
Origin of shekel
First recorded in 1550-60, shekel is from the Hebrew word sheqel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shekel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The payment of the shekel gives the right of vote for the congress.

    Zionism and Anti-Semitism Max Simon Nordau
  • You call a thousand pounds respectable, and a shekel despicable.

    Burlesques William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Then, no doubt, he taxed them a shekel apiece and let them go.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • They've got all their own money back, and all of ourn but a shekel or two besides.

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • According to our estimate a shekel was about 0.3 of an avoirdupois ounce.

    The Bible Story Rev. Newton Marshall Hall
  • I will give you a quarter of a shekel for it; and if you find any more bring them to me.

    The Curious Book of Birds Abbie Farwell Brown
  • The coin was a Jewish shekel, with a cross cut through at one side.

  • The shekel was equal to about an ounce, in our modern avoirdupois system.

    Hebrew Life and Times Harold B. Hunting
  • Not a shekel, not a silver penny, not a halfling—so help me the God of Abraham!

    Ivanhoe Walter Scott
British Dictionary definitions for shekel


the standard monetary unit of modern Israel, divided into 100 agorot
any of several former coins and units of weight of the Near East
(often pl) (informal) any coin or money
Word Origin
C16: from Hebrew sheqel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shekel

early 13c., sicle, via Old French and Latin, from Hebrew sheqel, from shaqal "he weighed." Chief silver coin of ancient Hebrews, also a unit of weight. Modern form in English dates from mid-16c. As slang for "money," it dates from 1871.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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