shek·​el ˈshe-kəl How to pronounce shekel (audio)
variants or sheqel
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)
: any of various ancient units of weight
especially : a Hebrew unit equal to about 252 grains troy
: a unit of value based on a shekel weight of gold or silver
: a coin weighing one shekel
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
the basic monetary unit of Israel see Money Table

Examples of shekel in a Sentence

if I had the shekels, I'd be first in line to buy one of the new vehicles
Recent Examples on the Web Two shekels once bought three cans of chickpeas but now cover only one, said Mahmoud Marzouq, 29, a Gaza City resident. Matthew Mpoke Bigg, New York Times, 24 May 2024 The Israeli shekel weakened 1% to 3.74 per dollar as of 12:20 p.m. in Tel Aviv, heading more its biggest drop in almost three weeks. Galit Altstein, TIME, 6 May 2024 The shekel dropped to its lowest value since February 2016. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 9 Oct. 2023 In December parliament approved a special war budget for 2023 of nearly 30 billion shekels to help fund the war and compensate those impacted by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks. NBC News, 8 Jan. 2024 Immediately after Monday’s vote, the Tel Aviv Stock Market dropped and the shekel plummeted against the dollar. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 25 July 2023 The conflict is expected to cost Israel around 255 billion shekels ($70.3 billion) by the end of 2025, equivalent to around 13% of GDP, according to the Bank of Israel. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 At makeshift street stalls, older children working as hawkers sell individual diapers for 3-5 shekels ($1 to $1.50) or entire packs of 50 for up to 200 shekels ($55). Wafaa Shurafa, Quartz, 16 Feb. 2024 The deal is part of a roughly 18.5% stake sale to foreign and local investors for 353 million shekels ($95 million), meaning the couple would have paid $25 million, according to calculations by Bloomberg. Galit Altstein, Fortune, 24 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shekel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Hebrew sheqel

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near shekel

Cite this Entry

“Shekel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


shek·​el ˈshek-əl How to pronounce shekel (audio)
: an ancient unit of weight or value
especially : a Hebrew unit equal to about 252 grains troy (about 16.3 grams)
: a coin weighing one shekel
: the basic unit of money of Israel

More from Merriam-Webster on shekel

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