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See also: Shanty



  • IPA(key): /ˈʃænti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænti

Etymology 1[edit]

From Canadian French chantier (lumberjack's headquarters). An alternative theory that the word derives from Irish sean (meaning "old house") is not considered likely by lexicologists.

  • (unlicensed pub): New Zealand from 1848.


shanty (plural shanties)

  1. A roughly-built hut or cabin.
    Synonyms: shack, hovel
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter I, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      A chap named Eleazir Kendrick and I had chummed in together the summer afore and built a fish-weir and shanty at Setuckit Point, down Orham way. For a spell we done pretty well.
    • 1961 November 10, Joseph Heller, “The Eternal City”, in Catch-22 [], New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, →OCLC, page 428:
      He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned.
    • 1965 January, Stuart James, Angling′s New Gadgets, Popular Mechanics, page 224,
      The ice fishing shanty is not a necessity, but it does add to the comfort. A shanty can be any size or shape, four pieces of plywood banged together with a plywood roof, or as elaborate as one I was told about by a Minneapolis fisherman that has four rooms with gas heat and wall-to-wall carpeting.
    • 1999 January, Lawrence Pyne, In Vermont: Rental Shanties Give Hassle-Free Ice-Fishing, Field & Stream, page 78,
      The solution is to use ice-fishing shacks, called shanties on Champlain. Every winter, veritable shanty towns spring up as safe ice develops, and their snug occupants harvest fresh meals of perch, pike, walleye, salmon, trout, and smelt without first being flash-frozen themselves.
    • 2000, Craig A. Gilborn, Adirondack Camps: Homes Away from Home, 1850-1950, page 51:
      Shanties are the most interesting and original of early housing in the Adirondacks. [] Bark for roofs and even walls on occasion seems to be an attribute of the shanty. Large shanties at staging grounds in the woods included bunkhouses holding one to three dozen men, so not all shanties were small.
  2. A rudimentary or improvised dwelling, especially one not legally owned.
    • 2003, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, page 208:
      Shanties along canal banks and road reserves have emerged since independence in 1948 onwards, and consist of unauthorized and improvised shelter without legal rights of occupancy of the land and structures.
    • 2005, Stephen Codrington, Planet Geography, page 481:
      A few governments recognise the shanties as a form of self-help housing that places very little burden upon government funds. Such governments sometimes encourage shanty development by providing water, electricity and garbage collection services.
    • 2009, James E. Casto, The Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, page 83:
      In the hard times of the 1930s, shanty boats along the Ohio River′s banks were home to many families, who felt fortunate to have a roof over their heads even if it was not on dry land.
  3. (Australia, New Zealand) An unlicensed pub.
    Synonym: speakeasy
    • 1881, Henry W. Nesfield, A Chequered Career; Or, Fifteen years in Australia and New Zealand, page 351:
      The shanty-keeper is not, as a rule, a bachelor.
Derived terms[edit]


shanty (not comparable)

  1. (US, derogatory) Living in shanties; poor, ill-mannered and violent.
    That neighborhood is full of shanty Irishmen.
    • 1963, William V. Shannon, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      The Irish of the middle class were trying to live down the opprobrium derived from the brawling, hard-drinking, and raffish manners of the “shanty Irish” of an earlier generation. The shanty Irish might in some instances have been the individual′s own grandmother who did, indeed, smoke a clay pipe and keep a goat in what, forty years later, became Central Park. Or shanty Irish might be those fellow Irish who at the turn of the century still lived in slums and were poor, hard-drinking, and contentious.
Usage notes[edit]

Applied to poor Irish immigrants, from the mid-1800s.


shanty (third-person singular simple present shanties, present participle shantying, simple past and past participle shantied)

  1. To inhabit a shanty.
    • 1857, Samuel H. Hammond, Wild Northern Scenes; Or, Sporting Adventures with the Rifle and the Rod:
      we came down the Alleghany in two canoes , and shantied on the Ohio

Etymology 2[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

From French chantez, imperative of chanter (to sing).


shanty (plural shanties)

  1. A song a sailor sings, especially in rhythm to his work.
    Synonym: sea shanty
    Hypernym: work song
    • 1979, Stan Hugill, Shanties from the Seven Seas: Shipboard Work-songs and Songs Used as Work-songs from the Great Days of Sail, page 192:
      A Scot called Macmillan, a man holding a master's square-rig ticket, gave me a portion of a shanty related in tune to the foregoing, and also to the British Rolling Home.
    • 1997, Jan Ling, A History of European Folk Music, page 41:
      Today, shanties are a special feature of the folk music movement. The first International Shanty Festival, Shanty ′87, was held in 1987 in Krakow, Poland, with Stan Hugill, the “godfather of the shanty,” in attendance (see Folk Roots, September 1987, No. 51, “Hugill-Mania! Stan Hugill Godfather of the Shanty Mafia, Goes to Poland,” p.33ff.).
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]


shanty (comparative more shanty, superlative most shanty)

  1. Jaunty; showy.[1]




Borrowed from English shanty.



shanty m (plural shanty's or shanties)

  1. A shanty, a sailing song.

Derived terms[edit]