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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 shekels
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They give the oof, the dollars, the shekels, and do not give the power to enjoy.

    The Island Mystery George A. Birmingham
  • A talent was divided into sixty minæ, a mina into sixty shekels.

  • Which has most to do with shekels to-day, the priests or the politicians?

    What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
  • I can hear the shekels chinking into our pockets this minute.

    Paul and the Printing Press Sara Ware Bassett
  • Strangers are not liked, and are only tolerated for the shekels that can be extracted or robbed from them.

    Due West

    Maturin Murray Ballou
British Dictionary definitions for shekels


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 shekels



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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Slang definitions & phrases for shekels



Money; wealth

[1871+; fr the Hebrew name of a unit of weight and money]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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