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[shan-tee-toun] /ˈʃæn tiˌtaʊn/
a section, as of a city or town, characterized by shanties and crudely built houses.
a whole town or city that is chiefly made up of shantylike houses.
Origin of shantytown
1880-85; shanty1 + town Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shantytown
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  • When they were done, they brought take-out bags for the junkie and Francis in the shantytown.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • I came to my senses in one of the bedrooms of the shantytown Hotel.

    The Blunders of a Bashful Man Metta Victoria Fuller Victor
  • Perry was hardly ever around for her now, buried in his work, buried with the kids from the shantytown and with Francis.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • Those kids probably live in the shantytown we passed this morning.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • They got in the car and drove across the road to the shantytown.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for shantytown


a town or section of a town or city inhabited by very poor people living in shanties, esp in a developing country
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shantytown

also shanty town, 1836, from shanty (n.1) + town.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shantytown



  1. A rickety hut; a hovel; a shack (1820+)
  2. A caboose (Railroad)

[origin uncertain; perhaps fr Irish sean-tig, ''old house''; perhaps fr Canadian French chantier, although this is more probably a borrowing of shanty]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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