ghetto

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
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    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
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    type of:
    quarter
    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”
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    type of:
    life
    a characteristic state or mode of living
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