part of a city in which members of a minority group live

Originally the word 'ghetto' meant the Jewish quarter of Venice, and later of any European town. Many places had a ghetto. The term "ghetto" is now commonly used to refer to any poverty-stricken urban area with a concentration of minority groups. The word has a few possible sources:

  • "getto", the Venetian word for foundry slag, because the Jews were only allowed in the area where the iron foundries were.[1]
  • Others believe it is from the Italian word borghetto, meaning a little borgo or ‘borough’.[2]
Kraków ghetto

It is also used to refer to areas that are considered to be undesirable.


  1. "ghetto - Search Online Etymology Dictionary".
  2. The New Oxford American Dictionary, Second Edition, Erina McKean, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-517077-6