Definition of chantey in US English:


(also shanty, chanty, sea chantey)


North American
  • A song with alternating solo and chorus, of a kind originally sung by sailors while performing physical labor together.

    • ‘The sea chantey is the most distinctive Kuwaiti folk song.’
    • ‘Greasy-looking drunkards occupied just about every bench and chair space, laughing rowdily while telling lurid jokes and singing bawdy sea chanteys.’
    • ‘The '80s pirate renaissance also demonstrated that pirates love nothing more than a boisterous sea chantey.’
    • ‘At Copley, he also exhibited a continuous 80 slide projection, coupled with an audiotape, showing a nine-person chorus singing sea chanteys with a pianist accompanying them.’
    • ‘Sometimes when we were mopping the deck, an activity in which Catherine and Nicholas were exempted from, the two would dance around singing the sea chantey that Patch, the singer of the group, had taught us a few days before.’


Mid 19th century: probably from French chantez! ‘sing!’, imperative plural of chanter.