shibboleth

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shib·bo·leth

 (shĭb′ə-lĭth, -lĕth′)
n.
1. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another.
2.
a. A word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword.
b. A commonplace saying or idea.
3. A custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider.

[Ultimately from Hebrew šibbōlet, torrent of water, from the use of this word to distinguish one tribe from another that pronounced it sibbōlet (Judges 12:4-6).]

shibboleth

(ˈʃɪbəˌlɛθ)
n
1. a belief, principle, or practice which is commonly adhered to but which is thought by some people to be inappropriate or out of date
2. a custom, phrase, or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to, or as a stumbling block to becoming a member of, a particular social class, profession, etc
[C14: from Hebrew, literally: ear of grain; the word is used in the Old Testament by the Gileadites as a test word for the Ephraimites, who could not pronounce the sound sh]

shib•bo•leth

(ˈʃɪb ə lɪθ, -ˌlɛθ)

n.
1. a peculiarity of pronunciation, usage, or behavior that distinguishes a particular group.
2. a slogan; catchword.
3. a common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.
[< Hebrew shibbōleth literally, freshet, a word used by the Gileadites as a test to detect the fleeing Ephraimites, who could not pronounce the sound sh (Judges 12:4–6)]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.shibboleth - a favorite saying of a sect or political groupshibboleth - a favorite saying of a sect or political group
locution, saying, expression - a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression"
catch phrase, catchphrase - a phrase that has become a catchword
mantra - a commonly repeated word or phrase; "she repeated `So pleased with how its going' at intervals like a mantra"
rallying cry, war cry, watchword, battle cry, cry - a slogan used to rally support for a cause; "a cry to arms"; "our watchword will be `democracy'"
2.shibboleth - a manner of speaking that is distinctive of a particular group of people
manner of speaking, delivery, speech - your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally; "his manner of speaking was quite abrupt"; "her speech was barren of southernisms"; "I detected a slight accent in his speech"
Translations

shibboleth

[ˈʃɪbəleθ] N (Bible) → lema m, santo m y seña (fig) → dogma m hoy desacreditado, doctrina f que ha quedado anticuada

shibboleth

n (= custom)Gepflogenheit f, → Konvention f; (= catchword)Losung f, → Parole f, → Schibboleth nt (rare, liter)
References in classic literature ?
pronounce the word right, but called it Sibboleth, which proved them
Whenever one of the fugitives of Ephraim said, 'Let me go over,' the men of Gilead would say to him, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' When he said, 'No,' they said to him, "Then say Shibboleth,' and he said, 'Sibboleth,' for he could not pronounce it right.
Decian sibboleth y, en esta frontera invisible entre schi y si, se delataban al centinela con riesgo de su vida ["en aquella ocasion, murieron cuarenta y dos mil hombres de Efraim" anota Jue.