1 of 2

noun (1)

shan·​ty ˈshan- How to pronounce shanty (audio)

variant spelling of chantey

: a song sung by sailors in rhythm with their work


2 of 2

noun (2)

shan·​ty ˈshan-tē How to pronounce shanty (audio)
plural shanties
: a small crudely built dwelling or shelter usually of wood

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Their shanty towns didn’t even have running water or electricity. Emiliano De Pablos, Variety, 17 May 2023 Drawn from labor pools in New York City, the workers included some women, who cooked communal meals in a giant cauldron and bore 15 children who were baptized in the riverside shanty town, now the site of the Windsor Locks Commons shopping plaza on Main Street, Kervick said. Jesse Leavenworth,, 17 Mar. 2022 The remix of the sea shanty, featuring 220 Kid and Billen Ted, makes its move to the summit after seven consecutive weeks in the Top 3. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 21 Mar. 2021 Maybe there was something to this sea shanty business. Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2021 Yen Corpuz’s eight young siblings and cousins who share a shanty in one the poorest slums of Manila were all enrolled in schools at the start of this year. Feliz Solomon, WSJ, 8 June 2020 Get 6 Months of Unlimited Access for $1 The Kemp dune shack, one of the oldest and most rustic of the shanties, is 102 square feet. Steve Annear,, 4 May 2023 Although co-op members comprise titans of industry, the terms of the group’s ground lease require it to rent one cottage to a commercial fisherman, Mr. Quick said, which is why No. 4 Old North Wharf, built around 1900, is still used as a scallop shanty. WSJ, 11 Aug. 2022 Then, every rickety shanty in Chinatown was looted. Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Noun (2)

probably from Canadian French chantier lumber camp, hut, from French, builder's yard, ways, support for barrels, from Old French chantier, gantier support — more at gantry

First Known Use

Noun (2)

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shanty was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near shanty

Cite this Entry

“Shanty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2

variant of chantey


2 of 2 noun
plural shanties
: shack, hut

More from Merriam-Webster on shanty

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