noun, plural ghettos, ghettoes.
a section of a city, especially a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships.
(formerly, in most European countries) a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live.
a section predominantly inhabited by Jews.
any mode of living, working, etc., that results from stereotyping or biased treatment: job ghettos for women; ghettos for the elderly.
pertaining to or characteristic of life in a ghetto or the people who live there: ghetto culture.
Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive. noting something that is considered to be unrefined, low-class, cheap, or inferior: Her furniture is so ghetto!

1605–15; < Italian, orig. the name of an island near Venice where Jews were forced to reside in the 16th century < Venetian, literally, foundry for artillery (giving the island its name), noun derivative of ghettare to throw < Vulgar Latin *jectāre; see jet1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ghetto (ˈɡɛtəʊ)
n , pl -tos, -toes
1.  sociol a densely populated slum area of a city inhabited by a socially and economically deprived minority
2.  an area in a European city in which Jews were formerly required to live
3.  a group or class of people that is segregated in some way
[C17: from Italian, perhaps shortened from borghetto, diminutive of borgo settlement outside a walled city; or from the Venetian ghetto the medieval iron-founding district, largely inhabited by Jews]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1611, from It. ghetto "part of a city to which Jews are restricted," various theories of its origin include: Yiddish get "deed of separation;" special use of Venetian getto "foundry" (there was one near the site of that city's ghetto in 1516); Egitto "Egypt," from L. Aegyptus (presumably in memory of
the exile); or It. borghetto "small section of a town" (dim. of borgo, of Gmc. origin, see borough). Extended 1892 to crowded urban quarters of other minority groups. Ghetto-blaster "large portable stereo" is from 1982.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

ghettos definition

Originally, areas of medieval cities in which Jews were compelled to live. Today the term usually refers to sections of American cities inhabited by the poor. (See inner city.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The even more lamentable stats of school connectivity in our ghettos and
  barrios cast a long shadow on the future.
We don't want ghettos, particularly in language, because it's easy to go to
  people who talk your language.
They are subjugated, feared, and consigned to ghettos.
The trouble is that many of the newcomers are moving to residential ghettos
  with miserable economic prospects.
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