Ghetto means a crowded poor part of a city lived in by a specific ethnic group. The word is powerful, often associated with a rich cultural heritage or a sense of shame and a desire to escape.

While most ghettos are formed through social forces (immigration, real estate values, public housing), in European cities during the time of the Nazi Holocaust (1939-1944), Jews were required by law to live in designated, often walled ghettos. Today, the word ghetto can also be used to describe non-geographic, but similarly cut off situations where one might feel stuck: "the academic ghetto."

Definitions of ghetto
  1. noun
    a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions
    see moresee less
    type of:
    city district
    a district of a town or city
  2. noun
    formerly the restricted quarter of many European cities in which Jews were required to live
    “the Warsaw ghetto
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a district of a city having some distinguishing character
  3. noun
    any segregated mode of living or working that results from bias or stereotyping
    “no escape from the ghetto of the typing pool”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a characteristic state or mode of living
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week