shek·​el | \ ˈshe-kəl How to pronounce shekel (audio) \
variants: or
plural shekels or shekalim\ she-​ˈkä-​lim How to pronounce shekalim (audio) \ or shekelim\ shē-​ˈkā-​lim How to pronounce shekelim (audio) \ or sheqalim\ she-​ˈkä-​lim How to pronounce sheqalim (audio) \

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 The Hebrew site also provides prices quoted in shekels., "Amazon adds Hebrew website for global sales," 12 Nov. 2019 In fact the two that have strengthened the most against the dollar over this period—Thailand’s baht and Israel’s shekel—have done so consistently. The Economist, "For 15 years two currencies have outperformed all others," 8 Dec. 2019 Case 1000 deals with alleged gifts Netanyahu received from overseas billionaires totaling 1 million Israeli shekels (approximately $280,000), including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Netanyahu faces new legal battle -- just as his political hopes fade," 2 Oct. 2019 One kilo of plastic sells for around one Israeli shekel, or 30 cents. Heidi Levine, National Geographic, "Plastics in the Gaza Strip are both a curse and a blessing," 7 Aug. 2019 In his honor, the Israeli government in 1968 released a 5 lira note that included his portrait on one side, which was used until the shekel was introduced in 1980. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "How countries use bank notes to celebrate — and confront — their own history," 16 July 2019 The committee also raised more than 25,000 shekels (over $7,000) within hours to pay for a lawyer. Sam Sokol,, "Israel’s crackdown on foreign workers is driving some families into hiding," 17 Sep. 2019 Case 1000 deals with alleged gifts Netanyahu received from overseas billionaires totaling 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000), including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more. Mike Schwartz, CNN, "Sara Netanyahu convicted of misusing public funds," 16 June 2019 The wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay a fine of 55,000 shekels ($15,200) as part of a plea agreement, made public on Wednesday, which judge Avital Chen, of the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, accepted Sunday morning. Mike Schwartz, CNN, "Sara Netanyahu convicted of misusing public funds," 16 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for shekel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shekel

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shekel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for shekel


How to pronounce shekel (audio)

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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What made you want to look up shekel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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