noun, often attributive
gang·​sta | \ ˈgaŋ(k)-stə How to pronounce gangsta (audio) \

Definition of gangsta

1 : a member of an inner-city street gang
2 : a performer of gangsta rap

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of gangsta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like the time, in Season 1, when Will bets that his cousin wouldn’t last long in Compton, and Carlton winds up dressed like a gangsta. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "My Mustache, My Self," 14 Oct. 2020 Larkin has previously, obliviously, stereotyped the African American Kendra as lower class and her son as a gangsta. Christopher Arnott,, "Review: ‘American Son’ an absorbing, suspenseful drama about racial profiling at TheaterWorks," 25 Oct. 2019 In keeping with the world of macho gangsta lyricism, his songs bristle with violent and criminal imagery and profane passion. al, "‘Investments’ paying off for Alabama rapper Yung Bleu," 30 Sep. 2019 After getting his gangsta on, Snoop decided to switch things up by bringing the BET Awards audience to church. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "Snoop Dogg Takes the BET Awards 2018 to Church With a Lively Medley," 24 June 2018 It’s not labeled into punk rock, trap, old school, gangsta. Katherine Turman, Billboard, "Kool Keith Talks New Dr. Octagon Project 'Moosebumps' & Why the Group Finally Returned After 22 Years," 11 Apr. 2018 At the 2018 awards, held in Berlin April 12, German gangsta rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won the Echo for best rap album for their top-selling disc Jung, brutal, gutaussehend 3 (Young, Brutal, Good-looking 3). Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Anti-Semitic Controversy Could Provoke Rule Change at German Music Awards," 17 Apr. 2018 New jack swing would also be the musical backbone for black media in the early '90s, none more important than the gangsta flick New Jack City and the primetime comedy In Living Color. Da'shan Smith, Billboard, "How Cardi B Achieved Stardom as an Old-School Hitmaker for New-School Hip-Hop," 12 Jan. 2018 Or when the gangsta rappers, and Oscar nominees, Three 6 Mafia, sang about pimps and hoes before the black-tie audience, hardly their usual crowd, and then, fantastically, won. Cara Buckley, New York Times, "The Agony, Absurdity and Ecstasy of the Oscar for Best Song," 14 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gangsta.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gangsta

1988, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gangsta

respelling of gangster reflecting loss of final r

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gangsta

Time Traveler for gangsta

Time Traveler

The first known use of gangsta was in 1988

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gangsta

Cite this Entry

“Gangsta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gangsta



English Language Learners Definition of gangsta

US, informal
: a member of a street gang
: a person who performs gangsta rap music

More from Merriam-Webster on gangsta

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gangsta

Comments on gangsta

What made you want to look up gangsta? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!