shibboleth

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shibboleth

A practice that distinguishes a group of insiders from outsiders based on the outsiders’ mispronunciation of key words (e.g., prostrate for prostate).
References in periodicals archive ?
In becoming a shibboleth, the term human error has lost its purpose; it has come to mean simply the mistakes of those most close in time and place, but not necessarily in responsibility, to the accident.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has been robust and not afraid to attack shibboleths
He'd become a culture-hero, a coiner of the shibboleths of hip.
Early in Battle Lines, he dispenses with one of the most widely held shibboleths, telling us: "Contrary to the complaints of many Israeli apologists that many or most foreign press corps members are inherently anti-semitic or anti-Israeli, a good number of the attitudes prevalent within the foreign press corps were shaped by the Israelis themselves." And later in the book, he points out that "whatever [journalists'] personal political beliefs, their loyalty at the tape machine or the film editing table was not to one side or another in a political dispute.
One source of Washington's see-no-evil thinking is the Heritage Foundation, which despite making some serious contributions to Kemp's cause, both through ideas and personnel, also delights in studies meant to debunk such alleged liberal shibboleths as the shortage of low-income housing.
In short, we are well on our way to "edu-business." And with the help of ivy-covered shibboleths like "academic freedom," edu-business promises to do every bit as much for the university as agri-business did for the family farm.
What's more, MacKay took on liberal shibboleths. As a bill to increase the minimum wage was gathering momentum this spring, MacKay opposed it in an editorial in The Washington Post (written by Longman).
The assortment of dictionaries at desk informs me that the Hebrew word shibboleth can be used to refer to a stream, a flood or an ear of corn.
We find the story of the shibboleth in the twelfth chapter of the book of Judges.
Thus the poet Milton, in Samson Agonistes, wrote: "Had not his prowess quelled their pride/ In that sore battle when so many died/ Without reprieve, adjudged to death/ For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth."