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[shan-tee] /ˈʃæn ti/
noun, plural shanties.
a crudely built hut, cabin, or house.
of, relating to, or constituting a shanty or shanties:
a shanty quarter outside the town walls.
of a low economic or social class, especially when living in a shanty:
shanty people.
verb (used without object), shantied, shantying.
to inhabit a shanty.
Origin of shanty1
1810-20; probably < Canadian French chantier lumber camp, hut; French: yard, depot, gantry, stand for barrels < Latin cant(h)ērius rafter, prop, literally, horse in poor condition, nag < Greek kanthḗlios pack ass
Related forms
shantylike, adjective


[shan-tee] /ˈʃæn ti/
noun, plural shanties.


or chanty, shantey, shanty

[shan-tee, chan-] /ˈʃæn ti, ˈtʃæn-/
noun, plural chanteys.
a sailors' song, especially one sung in rhythm to work.
1855-60; alteration of French chanter to sing; see chant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for shanty
Historical Examples
  • Some stalks, however, were trodden down and broken around the shanty; she could move more easily and see where she was going.

  • Probably they thought that the breaking of the lantern had communicated the flame to the shanty.

    Freaks of Fortune Oliver Optic
  • Two men were lounging in front of the shanty, chatting to the toll-man.

  • I took a couple of axes from the shanty at the landing, and we embarked.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • Pop made a guilty attempt to appear guileless, and told the farmer that he wished to build a shanty and raise potatoes.

    Tales From Bohemia Robert Neilson Stephens
  • They walked back to the shanty of Cuffy, and found him seated in his kitchen.

  • So Yan went forward rather cautiously and knocked at the open door of the shanty.

    Two Little Savages Ernest Thompson Seton
  • The night was chilly but the fire flooded our shanty with its warm glow.

    Eben Holden Irving Bacheller
  • He left the embankment and passed back to the shanty where the council of peace had been held.

    The Triumph of John Kars Ridgwell Cullum
  • Then, "I wonder if they've got any fowls left in that shanty over there?"

    A Yeoman's Letters P. T. Ross
British Dictionary definitions for shanty


noun (pl) -ties
a ramshackle hut; crude dwelling
(Austral & NZ) a public house, esp an unlicensed one
(formerly, in Canada)
  1. a log bunkhouse at a lumber camp
  2. the camp itself
Word Origin
C19: from Canadian French chantier cabin built in a lumber camp, from Old French gantiergantry


noun (pl) -ties, -teys
a song originally sung by sailors, esp a rhythmic one forming an accompaniment to work
Word Origin
C19: from French chanter to sing; see chant


/ˈʃæntɪ; ˈtʃæn-/
noun (pl) -teys
the usual US spelling of shanty2
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 shanty

"rough cabin," 1820, from Canadian French chantier "lumberjack's headquarters," in French, "timberyard, dock," from Old French chantier "gantry," from Latin cantherius "rafter, frame" (see gantry). Shanty Irish in reference to the Irish underclass in the U.S., is from 1928 (title of a book by Jim Tully).

"sea song," 1867, alternative spelling of chanty (n.).

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



  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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