Definitions

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

  • n. A usually poor section of a city inhabited primarily by people of the same race, religion, or social background, often because of discrimination.
  • n. An often walled quarter in a European city to which Jews were restricted beginning in the Middle Ages.
  • n. Something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto: "trapped in ethnic or pink-collar managerial job ghettoes” ( Diane Weathers).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An (often walled) area of a city in which Jews are concentrated by force and law. (Used particularly of areas in medieval Italy and in Nazi-controlled Europe.)
  • n. An (often impoverished) area of a city inhabited predominantly by members of a specific nationality, ethnicity, or race.
  • n. An area in which people who are distinguished by sharing something other than ethnicity concentrate or are concentrated.
  • adj. Of or relating to a ghetto or to ghettos in general.
  • adj. Of low quality; cheap; shabby, crude.
  • adj. Characteristic of the style, speech, or behavior of residents of a predominantly black or other ghetto in the United States.
  • adj. Having been raised in a ghetto in the United States.
  • v. To confine (a specified group of people) to a ghetto.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A quarter of a city where Jews live in greatest numbers.
  • n. Any section of a town inhabited predominantly by members of a specific ethnic, national or racial group, such segregation usually arising from social or economic pressure. The term is commonly applied to areas in cities having a high concentration of low-income African-Americans.
  • n. Any isolated group of people.
  • n. Any group isolated by external pressures, with an implication of inferiority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The quarter in certain Italian towns in which Jews were formerly compelled to live exclusively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. formerly the restricted quarter of many European cities in which Jews were required to live
  • n. a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions
  • n. any segregated mode of living or working that results from bias or stereotyping

Etymologies

Italian, after Ghetto, island near Venice where Jews were made to live in the 16th century.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from Italian ghetto, from Venetian, ghèto ("foundry"). Alternatively an apocope of the Italian borghetto, diminutive of borgo ("village"). Initially used of the areas Jews were concentrated, later extended to concentrations of other ethnicities and then non-ethic groups. The adjective and verb derive from the noun. (Wiktionary)

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