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 In the most serious case, Netanyahu is accused of advancing regulatory benefits worth more than 1 billion shekels (more than $283 million) in favor a telecommunications company controlled by a millionaire friend, prosecutors say. Amir Tal, CNN, "Netanyahu defiant as he arrives for start of trial," 24 May 2020 Netanyahu said the government would give Israeli families 500 shekels per child, up to a maximum of four children. NBC News, "Russian plane with coronavirus medical gear lands in U.S. after Trump-Putin call," 18 Apr. 2020 To encourage commerce and promote some fun, the Jerusalem municipality teamed up with local ice cream parlors to offer a free ice cream to anyone who spent 20 shekels – about $6 – in a store and brought a receipt. Michele Chabin And Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Exit polls: Benjamin Netanyahu projected to win most votes in Israel's election," 2 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, in Israel, which is on partial lockdown, police are fining those breaking the quarantine 5,000 shekels ($1,365). NBC News, "Introducing our new project: Coronavirus Confessions," 25 Mar. 2020 Those taxes would also be applied retroactively, Goder said, a decision that would cost Foreign Ministry workers thousands of shekels. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Israel's embassies around the world closed over pay dispute," 30 Oct. 2019 Prosecutors say that in the most serious case, known as Case 4000, Netanyahu advanced regulatory benefits worth more than 1 billion shekels (approximately $280 million) to his friend, millionaire Shaul Elovitch, who owned the Walla! Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Israel's Netanyahu indicted in corruption cases, hours before Mideast peace plan announced," 28 Jan. 2020 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

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

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

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Statistics for shekel

Last Updated

11 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shekel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 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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