There are 2 main definitions of shanty in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

shanty1

Line breaks: shanty
Pronunciation: /ˈʃanti
 
/

noun (plural shanties)

A small, crudely built shack.
Example sentences
  • They were replaced by shanties and shacks built of nothing more than clapboard or wattle and daub with dark and threatening alleyways between.
  • Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small-arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members.
  • However, immigrant workers from other African countries often live in shanties that ring these and other cities.
Synonyms
shack, hut, cabin, lean-to, shed;
Scottish bothy, shieling, shiel;
Canadian tilt;
South African hok;
in Brazilfavela
North American dated shebang

Origin

early 19th century (originally a North American usage): perhaps from Canadian French chantier 'lumberjack's cabin, logging camp'.

More
  • The sea shanty, the song to which sailors hauled ropes, probably comes from French chantez!, an order to ‘sing!’ It is recorded from the mid 19th century. A slightly earlier shanty appeared in North America for a small, crudely built shack and may come from Canadian French chantier ‘lumberjack's cabin, logging camp’, a specialized used of the word which usually means ‘building site’ in France. This shanty gave the world the shanty town, such as the favela in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities. This word, from the Portuguese equivalent of shanty is first recorded in 1961.

Definition of shanty in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of shanty in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

shanty2

Line breaks: shanty
Pronunciation: /ˈʃanti
 
/
(British also sea shanty; archaic or US chantey or chanty)

noun (plural shanties)

A song with alternating solo and chorus, of a kind originally sung by sailors while performing physical labour together.
Example sentences
  • At Copley, he also exhibited a continuous 80 slide projection, coupled with an audiotape, showing a nine-person chorus singing sea chanteys with a pianist accompanying them.
  • Sea chanteys (sailors' songs) have been sung throughout the sea-faring Omanis' history.
  • The best moment of this set is the interlude between Scenes 2 and 3 in Act One, with the sound of moonlight on the water, the gentle heaving of the terrifying sea, and sailors below-decks keeping their courage up singing by sea chanteys.

Origin

mid 19th century: probably from French chantez! 'sing!', imperative plural of chanter.

More
  • The sea shanty, the song to which sailors hauled ropes, probably comes from French chantez!, an order to ‘sing!’ It is recorded from the mid 19th century. A slightly earlier shanty appeared in North America for a small, crudely built shack and may come from Canadian French chantier ‘lumberjack's cabin, logging camp’, a specialized used of the word which usually means ‘building site’ in France. This shanty gave the world the shanty town, such as the favela in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities. This word, from the Portuguese equivalent of shanty is first recorded in 1961.

Definition of shanty in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.