Definition of shibboleth in English:

shibboleth

Syllabification: shib·bo·leth
Pronunciation: /ˈSHibəliTH, -ˌleTH
 
/

noun

  • A custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important: the party began to break with the shibboleths of the left
    More example sentences
    • It's not bad to be reminded that there's a whole horde of men of his generation out there in the sticks for whom the old shibboleths are pretty important.
    • Yet, it points to a tendency - I'll put it as weakly as that - toward re-marketing tired conservative shibboleths as funky new contrarian understandings.
    • But discarding a few outmoded shibboleths does not create a society that is at ease with itself and free of class anxieties, frictions and divisions.

Origin

mid 17th century: from Hebrew šibbōleṯ 'ear of corn', used as a test of nationality by its difficult pronunciation (Judg. 12:6).

More definitions of shibboleth

Definition of shibboleth in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
noun
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody