Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A shantytown or slum, especially in Brazil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A slum or shantytown, especially in Brazil

Etymologies

Portuguese, possibly from diminutive of favo, honeycomb (from Latin favus) or from favelas (probably from pl. of favela, spurge, from fava, bean, from Latin faba).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Portuguese favela. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Rio's lawmen are once again confronting favela drug lords; six of the meanest slums have been declared bandit-free, including the infamous Cidade de Deus (City of God). In a city of 1,000 favelas, half of which are rotten with trafficantes that's a drop in the ocean...."
    —Mac Margolis, "Brazil Purifies the 'City of God,' Newsweek, January 25, 2010

    March 17, 2010

  • Slum area. (from Phrontistery)

    May 24, 2008