Definition of shtetl in English:



  • A small Jewish town or village in eastern Europe.

    ‘a small shtetl in Belarus where Jay's ancestors lived’
    [as modifier] ‘childhood was shtetl life transplanted, Brooklyn coloured by Old World reverberations’
    figurative ‘the transformation of gay literature, its emergence from the shtetl, continues apace’
    • ‘Early Zionist leaders, from the late nineteenth century onwards, consciously set out to create a class of Jews who were the opposite of the Jews of the shtetl (the traditional Eastern European Jewish ghetto).’
    • ‘These early Zionist leaders knew of course that religion had preserved Jewish identity in the ghettos and shtetls of Europe, but in the modern Jewish state, they felt there would be no need for it.’
    • ‘The film deals with the discovery by a German cabaret agent of a strong man working as a blacksmith in a Jewish shtetl in eastern Poland.’
    • ‘In the shtetls of Eastern Europe, Jewish women had served their families by conducting business in the marketplace so that their men were free to spend time in study and prayer.’
    • ‘Born in the busy Russian port of Odessa on the Black Sea in 1894, Babel grew up in a shtetl, a Jewish village.’


Yiddish, little town.