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From Yiddish שטעטל(shtetl, small town, village), from שטאָט(shtot, city) (compare German Stadt, Swabian German Städtele), from Old High German stat, from Proto-Germanic *stadiz, from Proto-Indo-European *stéh₂tis.


  • enPR: shtĕt'(ə)l, IPA(key): /ˈʃtɛt(ə)l/
  • Rhymes: -ɛt(ə)l
  • (file)


shtetl (plural shtetls or shtetlach or shtetlech or shtetlekh)

  1. A Jewish village or small town, especially one in Eastern Europe.
    • 1992, Will Self, Cock and Bull:
      However, you are right to suspect that there is some connection between my carefully considered opinion of the Hebrew people and this marvellous recital which your waxy ears, full of the cheesy gunk of the shtetl, have been so fortunate to hear.
    • 2005, Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home (Simon & Schuster), page 8:
      Most of the second-generation immigrant kids of his neighborhood had been [...] as desperate to go to college and become lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and leave the teeming city for the suburbs, as their parents had been to leave behind the shtetls of Russia.
    • 2010, Peter Conrad, The Monthly, April 2010, Issue 55, The Monthly Ptd Ltd, page 52-3:
      Albert Speer had a big vision for it during the Third Reich, with boulevards and gigantic monuments, and we definitely don't want that again. It's a collection of villages, of shtetls as we say in Yiddish.

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From Yiddish שטעטל(shtetl).


shtetl m (plural shtetls)

  1. shtetl

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