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 Mesopotamia, that unit was referred to as a shekel. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, 28 June 2021 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, 24 May 2020 Netanyahu said the government would give Israeli families 500 shekels per child, up to a maximum of four children. NBC News, 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, 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, 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, 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, 28 Jan. 2020 The Hebrew site also provides prices quoted in shekels., 12 Nov. 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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The first known use of shekel was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Shekel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for shekel



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

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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