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shekel

[shek-uh l]
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noun
  1. Also sheqel. a paper money, cupronickel or silver coin, and monetary unit of Israel equal to 100 agorot: replaced the pound in 1980.
  2. 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.
  3. a coin of this weight, especially the chief silver coin of the ancient Hebrews.
  4. shekels, Slang. money; cash.

Origin of shekel

First recorded in 1550–60, shekel is from the Hebrew word sheqel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shekel

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The payment of the shekel gives the right of vote for the congress.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for shekel

shekel

sheqel

noun
  1. the standard monetary unit of modern Israel, divided into 100 agorot
  2. any of several former coins and units of weight of the Near East
  3. (often plural) 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

Word Origin and History for shekel

n.

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