Definition of ghetto in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡedō/

noun (plural ghettos or ghettoes)

1A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
Example sentences
  • Old Muslim localities are piles of rubble and ruin with hardly any sign of government help for rejuvenation of Muslim ghettos and slums in urban areas around towns and cities of India.
  • As well as this lack of opportunity, there seems to be so much violence in the ghettos, in the slums, the project areas, where most of the immigrants have to live.
  • I was going to leave my glamorous life behind in this rich and prep place, back to the slums and ghettos of the slowly decaying city in the east.
1.1 historical The Jewish quarter in a city: the Warsaw Ghetto
More example sentences
  • The hardships of life in the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe, as well as the political turmoil in those countries, stimulated the ideologically motivated Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel.
  • In the Jewish ghetto stands a 15th century house, adorned with a fragment of classical frieze and a stone lion, borrowed from some ruin that had no further use for it.
  • She and her mother were moved into the Jewish ghetto.
1.2An isolated or segregated group or area: the relative security of the gay ghetto
More example sentences
  • Otherwise, we create religious ghettos, segregate children living in religious families from the society, and condemn them to a life in isolation.
  • Instead they just settle for a few exterior shots of the gay ghetto in ugly, old downtown Toronto.
  • They have to assert their identities, refuse simplistic discourses, promote critical and self-critical understanding and get out from their intellectual, religious and social ghettos.

verb (ghettoes, ghettoing, ghettoed)

[with object]
Put in or restrict to an isolated or segregated area or group.
Example sentences
  • My social life is rather artist - ghettoed, so I enjoy meeting business people.
  • He flatly rejects the ‘anti-Semitic’ label, ‘Jews were a part of Arab history, not another species to be subjugated and ghettoed.’


Early 17th century: perhaps from Italian getto 'foundry' (because the first ghetto was established in 1516 on the site of a foundry in Venice), or from Italian borghetto, diminutive of borgo 'borough'.

  • Italian getto ‘a foundry’ is probably the source of this word for a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group. The first ghetto was established in 1516 on the site of a foundry in Venice. Alternatively, it may come from Italian borghetto, meaning ‘a little borough’. In Italy the word referred to the quarter of a city to which Jews were restricted, a use that became more widespread elsewhere, as in the Warsaw ghetto.

Words that rhyme with ghetto

allegretto, amaretto, amoretto, Canaletto, cornetto, falsetto, larghetto, libretto, Loreto, Orvieto, ristretto, Soweto, stiletto, Tintoretto, vaporetto, zucchetto

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ghet·to

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