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March 11, 1961

Shibboleth

Author Affiliations

3247 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis 8, Minn.

JAMA. 1961;175(10):924. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040100088028

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  I enjoyed Dr. William Bean's review of The Golden Age of Quackery that appeared in The Journal, Nov. 5, 1960, page 1351, but I would like to question his use of the word "shibboleth."The word "shibboleth," literally "an ear of corn," was used by the Gileadites to distinguish their foes, the Ephraimites. The Ephraimites pronounced it "Sibboleth" (Judges 12). Webster's Dictionary defines it as a "criterion, test, or watchword; a party cry or pet phrase." I do not believe that any of these meanings can be applied to syphilis.

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