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Jan 20, 2022
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Hebrew

This week’s words
mitzvah
cherub
tzedakah
shekel
sabbath

shekel
A 100-shekel note featuring the Hebrew poet Leah Goldberg
Image: Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

shekel or sheqel

PRONUNCIATION:
(SHEK-uhl)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Money; wealth; cash.
2. A monetary unit of Israel.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Hebrew sheqel, from shaqal (to weigh). Ultimately from the Semitic root tql (to weigh), which also gave us scallion and shallot. Earliest documented use: 1560.

NOTES:
A shekel was an ancient unit of weight of the Babylonians. From there the term came to be applied to a coin of this weight. In 1980, Israel replaced the pound as its monetary unit with the shekel. Hyperinflation forced the replacement of shekel with the new shekel in 1986. Today, the new shekel is simply called a shekel. Three shekels equal approx. one US dollar.

USAGE:
“‘Boys and girls,’ the air hostess goes, ‘we have arrived in Rovaniemi, Lapland -- home of Santa Claus!’
There’s, like, an excited cheer from everyone on-board, except my children, of course. Leo shouts, ‘Santa’s not real!’, which is obviously not what the other kids want to hear. Or their parents, who have handed over serious shekels for this Christmas in the North Pole Adventure.”
Ross O’Carroll-Kelly; Santa’s Gaff Is a Seriously Impressive Pile; Irish Times (Dublin); Nov 27, 2021.

See more usage examples of shekel in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Don't get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance. -Bill Maher, comedian, actor, and writer (b. 20 Jan 1956)

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