Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “shibboleth”

See all translations

shibboleth

noun [C] uk   /ˈʃɪb.əl.eθ/ us  
formal a belief or custom that is not now considered as important and correct as it was in the past: They still cling to many of the old shibboleths of education. a word, phrase, custom, etc. only known to a particular group of people, which you can use to prove to them that you are a real member of that group
(Definition of shibboleth from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of shibboleth?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

be as cold as ice

to be extremely cold

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More