\ ˈshte-tᵊl How to pronounce shtetl (audio) , ˈshtā- \
variants: or less commonly shtetel
plural shtetlach\ ˈshtet-​ˌläḵ How to pronounce shtetl (audio) , ˈshtāt-​ \ also shtetels

Definition of shtetl

: a small Jewish town or village formerly found in Eastern Europe

Examples of shtetl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web How did Boyle decide what town in the former Yugoslavia would serve as the setting for Tevye’s shtetl? Peter Keough,, 2 June 2022 The Polish shtetl was created by having the designers read the script and look for references of 1930’s Poland, and having a historian fact check their work. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 17 May 2022 That was the solution as well for the headstones of the fake shtetl’s cemetery. Cnaan Liphshiz,, 11 Aug. 2021 In 2009, my dad and I went looking for my great-great-grandfather Zalman Rozman’s grave in Novi Veledniki, a small shtetl near Chernobyl dating back to 1545. ELLE, 15 Mar. 2022 Strasberg, twenty-one years old, was born in a Polish shtetl and brought up on the Lower East Side. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 Her voice is unmistakable, a Valley Girl’s vocal fry mixed with Bernie Sanders’s metropolitan shtetl twang. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 15 Feb. 2022 Born into a Polish shtetl in 1886 and trained as a tailor, the young man traveled overland across the European continent at the turn of the century, hoping to escape the pogroms of the old world for the promise of the new. Ben Croll, Variety, 25 Nov. 2021 He was born in 1896 in Poritzk, a shtetl in what is now northwestern Ukraine. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of shtetl

1949, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shtetl

Yiddish shtetl, from Middle High German stetel, diminutive of stat place, town, city, from Old High German, place — more at stead entry 1

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Last Updated

7 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shtetl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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