• Josh Lyman: Excuse me, Mr. President, what are you going to ask the Chinese refugee?
  • President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet I’m going to ask him to say “Shibboleth.” (West Wing, Season 2, Episode 8)

I had never heard the word when I saw this episode of ‘West Wing’. So, in order to not appear as ignorant as I was, I headed into the depths of Google to understand what had just been said.

The reference is to a Biblical story where the pronunciation of that word meant life or death. It was a password, if you will, that the two sides pronounced differently. Thus, it exposed possible spies.

But now it can mean several things:

 1 a : a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning

b : a widely held belief

c : truism, platitude

2 a : a use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group

b : a custom or usage regarded as distinguishing one group from others

The Ragtag Daily Prompt is: SHIBBOLETH

Take your pick, be modern or archaic but use the word to create a post. Write, draw, photograph or use whatever you wish in order to employ the power of this word.

Then, post that creation here, create a ping back and tag it with “RDP”, “Ragtag Daily Prompt”, and “shibboleth”. Come on back when you want and read how others employed the word.

Stay safe and well. I will see you next Sunday!



  1. Thanks for that! I’ve known the word shibboleth in only one meaning up to now (the 1a meaning) – not in my active vocabulary, I might add. When I read the other definitions and its origin in the Bible I immediately knew what to post. And, btw, I am a huge fan of President Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen. Does anyone else also think that his press secretary, played by Allison Janney looks and acts strikingly like the current real press secretary in the White House, Jen Psaki?


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