[shuh-mah, shmah]

noun Judaism.

a liturgical prayer, prominent in Jewish history and tradition, that is recited daily at the morning and evening services and expresses the Jewish people's ardent faith in and love of God.

Origin of Shema

From the Hebrew word shəmaʿ listen! Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shema

Contemporary Examples of shema

  • He would often kiss the earth of Israel; at night, he would say the shema prayer for hours.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rav Froman's Funeral

    Elisheva Goldberg

    March 6, 2013

  • Her arrest and detention for uttering the shema ought to find no sympathy from any Jew.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Funds and a Unified Front

    Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

    October 24, 2012

Historical Examples of shema

British Dictionary definitions for shema



the central statement of Jewish belief, the sentence "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is your God; the Lord is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
the section of the liturgy consisting of this and related biblical passages, Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and 11:13–21 and Numbers 15:37–41, recited in the morning and evening prayers and on retiring at night

Word Origin for Shema

Hebrew, literally: hear
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 shema


from Hebrew shema "hear!," imperative of shama "to hear." First word of Deut. vi:4.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper