shibboleth; scibboleth

(Hebrew: ear of corn)

A word used by Jephte as a password by which to distinguish the fleeing Ephraimites from his own men, the Galaadites. If they could not pronounce it, and said "sibboleth" instead, they were put to death (Judges 12); in modern times, a password, a slogan, a peculiarity of pronunciation or accent which indicates a person's origin.

New Catholic Dictionary

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