fa·​ve·​la fə-ˈve-lə How to pronounce favela (audio)
variants or less commonly favella
: a settlement of jerry-built shacks lying on the outskirts of a Brazilian city

Examples of favela in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This led to the creation of organizations like Instituto Caldeira, launched in 2022, and the development of innovative territories, with entrepreneurship and innovation hubs set up in favelas across the state capital. Angelica Mari, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Young lovers Orfeu and Eurydice dash through the favelas during Carnival to escape a hitman dressed like Death and also Orfeu’s scored fiancée. Andrew Lawrence, Peoplemag, 17 Feb. 2024 By then, Brazilian funk was already an underground sensation, a result of DJs throwing huge parties that drew from funk and hip-hop in primarily Black favelas during the Seventies and Eighties. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2024 Meanwhile, for the young people growing up in the favelas, the convention is an event to look forward to. Gabriel Leão, WIRED, 27 Dec. 2023 Sadly, many of his friends who went for the severance packages ended up in the slums (favelas), impacted by the massive decline of the industrial sector. Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 30 Nov. 2023 The digital piece of the 3D plan starts with affordable, reliable internet access, which favelas often lack. Angelica Mari, WIRED, 18 Aug. 2023 So far, Lyra has secured the commitment from the São Paulo state to roll out the project at nine medium-size favelas. Angelica Mari, WIRED, 18 Aug. 2023 Under Bolsonaro, Rio police sent armored cars, snipers and bulletproof helicopters into the favelas, even after the country’s supreme court ordered Rio police to restrict violent raids in 2020. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'favela.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Brazilian Portuguese favela, perhaps from Favela, hill outside Rio de Janeiro

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of favela was in 1946

Dictionary Entries Near favela

Cite this Entry

“Favela.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/favela. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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