• synonyms


  1. a relentless and revengeful moneylender in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
  2. a hard-hearted moneylender.
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verb (used without object)
  1. (lowercase) to lend money at extortionate rates of interest.
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Related formsShy·lock·i·an, adjectiveShy·lock·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shylock

banker, bank, swindler, shark, Shylock, backer, pawnbroker, moneylender, pawnshop, usurer, granter, lender, broker

Examples from the Web for shylock

Historical Examples of shylock

  • The play went on—Shylock appeared—I forgot every thing but him.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 9 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • But he was as unlike to Shylock as it is possible to conceive.

  • The landlord threw up his arms like Shylock at the loss of his money-bags.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • Besides, there is a dash of Shylock in every Jew that ever breathed.

  • Then she said to Shylock, "Be merciful: take the money, and bid me tear the bond."

    Tales from Shakespeare

    Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

British Dictionary definitions for shylock


  1. a heartless or demanding creditor
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Word Origin for Shylock

C19: after Shylock, the name of the heartless usurer in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (1596)
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 shylock



"usurer, merciless creditor," 1786, from Jewish money-lender character in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (c.1596).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shylock in Culture


The merciless moneylender in The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare. He demands a pound of flesh (see also pound of flesh) from the title character of the play after the merchant defaults on his debt.

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Shylock is a Jew (see also Jews), and there has long been controversy over whether Shakespeare's portrayal of Shylock contributes to prejudice against Jews. Shylock is a cruel miser and eventually is heavily fined and disgraced, but he maintains his dignity. At one point in the play, he makes a famous, eloquent assertion that his desire for revenge is the same desire that a Christian would feel in his place. “I am a Jew,” says Shylock. “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.