What does the word shibboleth mean?

Usage examples for shibboleth

  1. Then you would ruthlessly put your friends to death for a shibboleth?" – The Magic Skin by Honore de Balzac
  2. But, it may be said, Are there not women among you who would use the shibboleth, of freedom and labour, merely as a means for opening a door to a greater and more highly flavoured self- indulgence, to a more lucrative and enjoyable parasitism? – Woman and Labour by Olive Schreiner
  3. The events occurred in 1600, but the interest which they excited was so keen that belief in the guilt or innocence of the two noble brothers who perished in an August afternoon, was a party shibboleth in the Wars of the Saints against the Malignants, the strife of Cavaliers and Roundheads. – James VI and the Gowrie Mystery by Andrew Lang