noun (1)
Shi·​va | \ ˈshi-və How to pronounce Shiva (audio) , ˈshē- \
variants: or less commonly \ ˈsi-​və How to pronounce Siva (audio) , ˈshi-​ , ˈsē-​ , ˈshē-​ \

Definition of Shiva

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the god of destruction and regeneration in the Hindu sacred triad — compare brahma entry 1, vishnu


noun (2)
shi·​va | \ ˈshi-və How to pronounce shiva (audio) \
variants: or less commonly shivah or Shiva or Shivah

Definition of shiva (Entry 2 of 2)

: a traditional seven-day period of mourning the death of a family member that is observed in Jewish homes Details about the funeral and shiva have not yet been finalized.— Alyssa Fisher The observance of Shiva is traced to the dawn of Jewish history. The Torah relates that Joseph mourned the death of Jacob his father for seven days.— Zalman Goldstein often used in the phrase sit shiva We're going to say kaddish, sit shiva and eat poundcake for a week— Gary David Goldberg She's sitting shivah for her father. She doesn't want to be disturbed.— Etgar Keret … the comedy centers on a dysfunctional family that is forced to reunite when their father requests they sit Shivah for seven days following his death.— Dave Trumbore

Examples of Shiva in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It was performed in houses, where people sit shivah, rather than the theater. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "25th season: Jewish theater founder says message more important than ever," 16 Aug. 2019 The family will sit shivah at the temple after the interment. Holly Otterbein,, "Former GOP Congressman Jon Fox dead at 70," 12 Feb. 2018 The family will sit shivah at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Birnhak residence in Bala Cynwyd. Bonnie L. Cook,, "Marilyn Price Birnhak, 85, Weight Watchers of Philadelphia president and local philanthropist," 15 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'Shiva.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of Shiva

Noun (1)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Shiva

Noun (1)

Sanskrit Śiva

Noun (2)

Hebrew shibhʽāh seven (days)

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Time Traveler for Shiva

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The first known use of Shiva was in 1788

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Cite this Entry

“Shiva.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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