Definition of Shelta in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃɛltə/


[mass noun]
An ancient secret language used by Irish and Welsh Travellers and Gypsies, and based largely on altered Irish or Gaelic words.
Example sentences
  • Words from Romany (originally an Indian dialect), Shelta (the cant of the Irish tinkers), Yiddish, back slang, rhyming slang and other non-standard English are interspersed with words of Italian origin.
  • Their 7,000-10,000 descendants still speak the secret Traveler language, a dialect alternately known as Shelta, Gammon, or Cant, which includes elements of Irish Gaelic, English, Greek, and Hebrew.
  • American Travellers' Cant was originally also Shelta but is now largely Anglicized.


Late 19th century: of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with Shelta

belter, delta, helter-skelter, melter, pelta, shelter, swelter, welter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Shelta

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