1 of 2

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


2 of 2

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
Among the lawns, fountains, and pools that dot the grounds is an 18th-century temple to Shiva, carefully restored before the hotel opened in 1997. Hannah Walhout, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2024 Speaking to reporters, Ashish Kumar, the district magistrate of Hathras, said the stampede happened as people were leaving the event, which was held to celebrate the Hindu deity Shiva. Aishwarya S Iyer, CNN, 2 July 2024
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 See all Example Sentences for Shiva 

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 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also shivah
: a traditional seven-day period of mourning the death of a family member that is observed in Jewish homes
often used in the phrase sit shiva
they are sitting shiva for their father

More from Merriam-Webster on Shiva

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!