Shibboleth

Shib"bo*leth

(?), n. [Heb. shibbleth an ear of corn, or a stream, a flood.] 1. A word which was made the criterion by which to distinguish the Ephraimites from the Gileadites. The Ephraimites, not being able to pronounce sh, called the word sibboleth. See Judges xii.
[1913 Webster]

Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
For want of well pronouncing shibboleth.
Milton.
[1913 Webster]

Also used in an extended sense.
[1913 Webster]

The th, with its twofold value, is . . . the shibboleth of foreigners.
Earle.
[1913 Webster]

2. Hence, the criterion, test, or watchword of a party; a party cry or pet phrase.
[1913 Webster]

 

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Sat 15th December 2018