Etymology
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ghetto (n.)

1610s, "part of a city in which Jews are compelled to live," especially in Italy, from Italian ghetto "part of a city to which Jews are restricted," of unknown origin. The various theories trace it to: Yiddish get "deed of separation;" a special use of Venetian getto "foundry" (there was one near the site of that city's ghetto in 1516); a clipped form of Egitto "Egypt," from Latin Aegyptus (presumably in memory of the exile); or Italian borghetto "small section of a town" (diminutive of borgo, which is of Germanic origin; see borough). Extended by 1899 to crowded urban quarters of other minority groups (especially blacks in U.S. cities). As an adjective by 1903 (modern slang usage from 1999). Ghetto-blaster "large, portable stereo cassette-player" is from 1982.

updated on March 04, 2015

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Definitions of ghetto from WordNet

ghetto (n.)
formerly the restricted quarter of many European cities in which Jews were required to live;
the Warsaw ghetto
ghetto (n.)
any segregated mode of living or working that results from bias or stereotyping;
no escape from the ghetto of the typing pool
the relative security of the gay ghetto
ghetto (n.)
a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.