- a relentless and revengeful moneylender in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
- a hard-hearted moneylender.
- (lowercase) to lend money at extortionate rates of interest.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a heartless or demanding creditor
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
"usurer, merciless creditor," 1786, from Jewish money-lender character in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (c.1596).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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.