An example of a shibboleth is a phrase used by a guest to get into a Masonic club.
Origin of shibboleth
- Ultimately from Hebrew šibbōlet torrent of water, from the use of this word to distinguish one tribe from another that pronounced it sibbōlet (Judges 12:4–6)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Hebrew ×©×‘×•×œ×ª (Å¡ibbÅlet, “ear of wheat"), with reference to Judges 12:5-6: "˜Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, “Let me cross," the men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?" If he said, “No," they then said, “Very well, say Shibboleth." If anyone said “Sibboleth", but could not pronounce it, they would then seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan.' (New Jerusalem Bible)