noun \ˈge-(ˌ)tō\

: a part of a city in which members of a particular group or race live usually in poor conditions

: the poorest part of a city

plural ghettos also ghettoes

Full Definition of GHETTO

:  a quarter of a city in which Jews were formerly required to live
:  a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure
a :  an isolated group <a geriatric ghetto>
b :  a situation that resembles a ghetto especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity <the pink-collar ghetto>

Examples of GHETTO

  1. He grew up in the ghetto.

Origin of GHETTO

Italian, from Venetian dialect ghèto island where Jews were forced to live, literally, foundry (located on the island), from ghetàr to cast, from Latin jactare to throw — more at jet
First Known Use: 1611



Definition of GHETTO

transitive verb
:  ghettoize

First Known Use of GHETTO



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Formerly, a street or quarter of a city set apart as a legally enforced residential area for Jews. Forced segregation of Jews spread throughout Europe in the 14th–15th centuries. Ghettos were customarily enclosed with walls and gates and kept locked at night and during Christian festivals. Since outward expansion was usually impossible, most ghettos grew upward; congestion, fire hazards, and unsanitary conditions often resulted. Ghettos were abolished in western Europe in the 19th century; those revived by the Nazi Party (see Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) were overcrowded holding places preliminary to extermination. More recently, the term ghetto has been applied to impoverished urban areas exclusively settled by a minority group or groups and perpetuated by economic and social pressures rather than legal and physical measures.


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