- The definition of a ghetto is an area of a city where poor people live, with typically higher rates of crime and where racial and religious groups are discriminated against.
An example of a ghetto is South Central Los Angeles.
A street in a ghetto.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- in certain European cities, a section to which Jews were formerly restricted
- any section of a city in which many members of some minority group live, or to which they are restricted as by economic pressure or social discrimination
Origin: It, literally , foundry (from gettare, to pour from Vulgar Latin an unverified form jectare, for Classical Latin jactare, to throw, cast), name of a quarter inch(es) Venice occupied by Jews, origin, originally location of a cannon foundry
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. ghet·tos or ghet·toes
- A usually poor section of a city inhabited primarily by people of the same race, religion, or social background, often because of discrimination.
- An often walled quarter in a European city to which Jews were restricted beginning in the Middle Ages.
- Something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto: “trapped in ethnic or pink-collar managerial job ghettoes” (Diane Weathers).
Origin: Italian, after Ghetto, island near Venice where Jews were made to live in the 16th century.