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noun (1)

Shi·​va ˈshi-və How to pronounce Shiva (audio)
variants or less commonly Siva
ˈsi-və How to pronounce Shiva (audio)
: the god of destruction and regeneration in the Hindu sacred triad compare brahma entry 1, vishnu


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noun (2)

shi·​va ˈshi-və How to pronounce shiva (audio)
variants or less commonly shivah or Shiva or Shivah
: 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 weekGary 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
There is a residual tension in early representations of Ardhanarishvara, where Shiva is shown with an erect phallus, suggesting that the figure itself is still straining against resolution, striving for the division that creates desire and regeneration. Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 Patti Perret In many ways, Bottoms is a departure from Seligman’s 2020 debut feature, Shiva Baby, which deals with uncertain futures, clandestine affairs, and overbearing elders in the claustrophobic setting of a shiva house. Nadine Zylberberg, ELLE, 25 Aug. 2023 The deity Shiva was reportedly a stoner, and devotees honored him by stuffing charas into clay or stone pipes called chillums, and entering psychotropic trances. Sean Williams, Harper's Magazine, 11 Sep. 2023 On the personal front, McDermott was married to actress Shiva Rose from 1995 to 2009, and have two daughters together. Ariana Quihuiz, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2023 In Hindu mythology, the god Shiva tied the waterway to Earth with his matted locks; a priest told me that to approach the temple via the tangle of pedestrian lanes that have surrounded it for centuries was to climb those locks. Daniel Brook, The New Yorker, 7 Sep. 2023 As the story is told, Vishnu disguised himself as her husband Jalandhar so that the god Shiva could kill the demon in a fight. Holly Walters, The Conversation, 4 Aug. 2023 The Buddhist pictured God the way Hindus conceived of Brahma or Shiva, or the ancient Greeks imagined Zeus or Athena, the former missionary says. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Aug. 2023 Become a Subscriber Seligman’s 2020 debut, Shiva Baby, starred Sennott as a bisexual Jewish 20-something horrified to encounter both her sugar daddy and her ex-girlfriend at the titular mourning ritual. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 25 Aug. 2023
Later that week, at my mother’s shiva, her friends laughed and traded stories about her determination, resilience, and gift for reinvention. Emily Listfield, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Apr. 2023 However, on the unexpected death of Tamás’s wife (Ágnes Máhr), Iván, who had become religious in Israel in the meantime, decides to move into Tamás’s apartment and, in accordance with Jewish traditions, spend a week of mourning and shiva. Marina Lazarevska, Variety, 16 Aug. 2022 The funeral was expected to be live-streamed, with a shiva to follow. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 8 July 2022 Largely a single-setting comedy, the film unfolds at a shiva attended by Danielle (Rachel Sennott), a bisexual Jewish woman whose house of cards is about to come tumbling down in front of everyone when her sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) shows up with his wife (Dianna Agron). Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 13 May 2022 After shiva comes shloshim, a period of less intense mourning in which observant Jews leave the home but continue to observe some restrictions, like avoiding music and dancing. New York Times, 10 Aug. 2021 The dress code for a memorial service or shiva is less formal, but show respect for the occasion, says Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas. Debby Waldman, Wired, 17 Mar. 2021 For Mile End's Tietolman, the deli is always there for people, from the start of life at a bris to the end of life at a shiva. Noah Sheidlower and Radhika Marya, CNN, 7 Nov. 2021 The closeness at the shiva, with everyone crowding into small corners in small rooms, is clearly a wet heat. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 1 Apr. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Shiva.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Sanskrit Śiva

Noun (2)

Hebrew shibhʽāh seven (days)

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1788, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Shiva was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near Shiva

Cite this Entry

“Shiva.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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