Originally, the section of a European city to which Jews were restricted. Today, commonly defined as a section of a city occupied by members of a minority group who live there because of social restrictions on their residential choice.
ghetto \ghet"to\ (?), n. a quarter of a city where jews live in greatest numbers. ghetto \ghet"to\ (?), n. [it.] the jews'quarter in an italian town or city. i went to the ghetto, where the jews dwell.
A ghetto is a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure. The term was originally used in Venice to describe the part of the city to which Jews were restricted and segregated.
Noun 1. formerly the restricted quarter of many European cities in which Jews were required to live; "the Warsaw ghetto" (hypernym) quarter (derivation) ghettoize, ghettoise 2. any segregated mode of living or working that results from bias or stereotyping; "the relative security of the gay ghetto"; "no escape from the ghetto of the typing pool" (hypernym) life 3. a poor densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions (hypernym) city district
During the Medieval Period, european cities often confined Jews to living in a specified district of town, a place that often had gates that were closed at night. The term ghetto comes from the name of an island in Venice, Italy, which was the restricted area for Jewish residence; it was called "Ghato."