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 government employee charged along with Netanyahu also reached an agreement with the prosecution and was fined 10,000 shekels. NBC News, "Sara Netanyahu sentenced for misusing state funds in meals catering case," 16 June 2019 The government rewards such killings, at 2,000 shekels (more than $500) a hide—and a quarter of that per wolf cub. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 In March, a Starwood unit raised 910 million shekels ($244 million) to refinance the seven-mall portfolio. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Starwood’s Israeli Bond Price Plummets as Mall Values Erode," 11 Dec. 2018 Among the highlights of the exhibit are one of two known silver half-shekel coins minted by Jewish rebels in the first year of the revolt against Rome in A.D. 66. Fox News, "Franciscan museum in Jerusalem shows life in Jesus' time," 7 July 2018 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

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

26 Jun 2019

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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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of or relating to the heavens

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