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Definition of shibboleth


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shib·bo·leth  audio  (shb-lth, -lth) KEY 

NOUN:
  1. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another.
    1. A word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword.
    2. A commonplace saying or idea.
  2. A custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider.

ETYMOLOGY:
Ultimately from Hebrew ibblet, torrent of water, from the use of this word to distinguish one tribe from another that pronounced it sibblet (Judges 12:4-6)


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