There’s a little buzz going around regarding this unusual word… shibboleet.

It was used in a web-comic about tech support providing the caller a way to circumvent the usual process and get to someone special. Sort of a secret password deal.

The word seems to be a neologism of two terms.

The first being the Hebrew word shibboleth, which is defined as…

…any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one’s social or regional origin. It usually refers to features of language, and particularly to a word whose pronunciation identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group.

The other term being leet, which “is a term used by computer users and gamers everywhere to describe their awesome computing and gaming skills.”

Essentially, it’s a term that represents a sort of computer-geek secret verbal handshake. It’s a way of saying, “I’m in the club.” In the Hebrew being able to pronounce it correctly meant that you are part of the group, but those who could not were excluded from the group.

That got me thinking about the church…

We tend to use a LOT of secret-club language. You usually don’t have to talk to someone very long to find out if they have “Jesus in their heart” or if “God is growning [them]”. Or maybe you know someone who’s “planting seeds of faith”.

What other secret-club terms do we tend to use?

Is it right, or should we talk more like ‘real’ people?

shibboleet [and other verbal handshakes]

by Dan King time to read: 1 min
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