shek·​el | \ˈshe-kəl \
variants: or
plural shekels or shekalim\she-​ˈkä-​lim \ or shekelim\shē-​ˈkā-​lim \ or sheqalim\she-​ˈkä-​lim \

Definition of shekel 

1a : any of various ancient units of weight especially : a Hebrew unit equal to about 252 grains troy

b : a unit of value based on a shekel weight of gold or silver

2 : a coin weighing one shekel

3 shekels plural, informal : money … making boxing history in the ring in New York, Chicago and wherever else fans … were willing to unburden themselves of substantial sums of shekels for the pleasure of seeing two guys vent their nastiness on each other.— Pete Coutros

4 the basic monetary unit of Israel — see Money Table

Examples of shekel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In Tel Aviv, prices will be similar, at five shekels ($1.36) to start, plus 50 agorot (14 cents) a minute. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Bird's Electric Scooters Are Coming to Paris and Tel Aviv," 1 Aug. 2018 Every shekel that Abu Mazen pays to terrorists and murderers will be automatically deducted from the Palestinian Authority’s budget. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Israel Penalizes Palestinians for Payments to Prisoners and ‘Martyrs’," 3 July 2018 The Palestinian Authority transfers over a billion shekel a year to terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians and to the families of terrorists who were killed. Ariel Kahana, Jewish Journal, "Lawmakers back tougher version of terrorist wages bill," 27 June 2018 Payments for terrorists are issued monthly, with those receiving sentences of three to five years being allocated 2,000 shekels ($566) a month and those receiving 20-year to 35-year sentences earning 10,000 shekels ($2829) per month for life. Jewish Journal, "Abbas declares Israeli legislation won't stop him from paying terrorists," 11 July 2018 His son won’t ask the sons of wealthy oligarchs to spot him 400 shekels for a prostitute, as Yair Netanyahu did. Gregg Carlstrom, Newsweek, "The Fall of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Future of Israel," 15 Mar. 2018 Hagej was fined 450 shekels ($125) after his first arrest, a fine that increased with each offense. Washington Post, "Ramadan public wakers face arrest, fines in Jerusalem," 6 June 2018 Israeli Army Radio put the cost of damages at 5 million shekels ($1.4 million). Fox News, "The Latest: Palestinian killed trying to breach Israel fence," 4 June 2018 How much has the Trump family made, and where, and who has paid them, right down to the last ruble, renminbi, manat, shekel, peso, and loonie? Kevin Baker, The New Republic, "Why America needs truth and reconciliation after Trump," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shekel.' 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 shekel

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shekel

Hebrew sheqel

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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The first known use of shekel was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of shekel

: the basic unit of money in Israel


shek·​el | \ˈshe-kəl\

Kids Definition of shekel

: a bill or coin used in Israel

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More from Merriam-Webster on shekel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shekel

Nglish: Translation of shekel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shekel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shekel

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