shek·​el | \ ˈshe-kəl How to pronounce shekel (audio) \
variants: or
plural shekels or shekalim\ she-​ˈkä-​lim How to pronounce shekel (audio) \ or shekelim\ shē-​ˈkā-​lim How to pronounce shekel (audio) \ or sheqalim\ she-​ˈkä-​lim How to pronounce shekel (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 In fact, everyone contributed the same amount: a half shekel, no more, no less. Rabbi Avi Weiss,, 14 Feb. 2022 Once approved, more international investors will have the opportunity to benefit from the strong Israeli shekel as well as the dynamic and diverse tech industry. Carrie Rubinstein, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 The city received a cost of living score of 106, due in large part to the strength of the Israeli shekel against the U.S. dollar. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 7 Dec. 2021 In November of 2021, the shekel reached $0.32, its highest valuation against the US dollar in more than two decades. Camille Squires, Quartz, 2 Dec. 2021 Much of this is thanks to the appreciation of Israel’s currency, the shekel. Camille Squires, Quartz, 2 Dec. 2021 The soaring shekel and price increases for goods including groceries and transport were the main factors in Tel Aviv taking the top spot, according to the EIU. Alex Millson, Fortune, 1 Dec. 2021 Part of the reason for Tel Aviv’s rise to the top was the strength of its currency, the shekel, when translated into dollars, the report said. NBC News, 1 Dec. 2021 Spotting a street vendor, Mr. al-Garosha stopped to buy two cigarettes, for a shekel each, with a five-shekel coin his mother had given him. New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Cite this Entry

“Shekel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for shekel


shek·​el | \ ˈshe-kəl \

Kids Definition of shekel

: a bill or coin used in Israel

More from Merriam-Webster on shekel

Nglish: Translation of shekel for Spanish Speakers

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


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