Dec 17, 2007

shnekel or shtekel

Israel recently released the 2 shekel coin.

There is a raging debate what nickname to call the new coin by. The two main suggestions, I think, are "shnekel" and "shtekel".

Shnekel is a combination of "Shnei Shekel" - 2 shekel in Hebrew.
Shtekel is a combination of "Shtei Shekel" - 2 shekel in Hebrew.

I do not know which is grammatically correct. One would be feminine and one would be masculine tense. I do not know if coins are considered masculine or feminine, but the structure of the word seems to be masculine. I think that would make "shnekel" more correct. But grammar was never my favorite subject, so I might be wrong.

A reader pointed me to this website where you can vote on the name "shtekel"..


  1. lol the word is just funny. shnekel.

    shtekel sounds like shtickel. i'll have a shtickel of kugel that costs a shteckel.

  2. or how about, I will have a shtickel of kugel that costs a shnekel... I am not sure which sounds better, but they both sound funny...

  3. oh i can't wait to come to israel and ask that.

    sounds better in lushen koidesh.

  4. The question isn't whether the word for "coin" is masculine or feminine, but whether the word "shekel" is, since that is the word which is modified by the adjective "two". According to rav-milim online dictionary (subscription required), it is masculine. Therefore, "shnekel" would be grammatically correct. However, I personally think that "shtekel" sounds better.

    Plus, it will give people something else to be snobbish about. While the man on the street is calling it a "shtekel", so high-falutin "educated" Israeli can make a big deal calling it a "shnekel," not-so-patiently explaining that it is the proper conjugation, and acting as if that makes him the most intelligent person on Earth, now that Albert Einstein is dead.

  5. that's a funny analysis...

    BTW, when I said "coin", I meant shekel, not "matbe'ah".

  6. my write-in nomination is for the proto-dual form of shiklayim (or shaklayim? which mishkal is followed for shekel?)

  7. thanks for the heads up. Otherwise, I can see myself already arguing w/somebody thinking they are trying to bamboozle me into taking a two shekel piece.

  8. B"H As long as we don't call it a nickname with an "M" instead of the suggested "N" or "T."

    I'm surprised no one beat me to that. Perhaps, I just have the poorest taste of your commenters.

  9. Hi,

    I'm Israeli,
    I happaned to found this blog.

    It's Shnekel.
    and it's a cool word for us, too.

    Shekels are masculine, and we say "shkalim" (for 'lion of zion').



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