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Shelta

[shel-tuh]
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noun
  1. a private language, based in part on Irish, used among Travelers in the British Isles.
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Origin of Shelta

First recorded in 1875–80; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shelta

Historical Examples

  • Our informant could give only a single specimen of the Shelta literature.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

  • Me tu sosti, “Thou shalt be (of) me,” is Romany, which is freely used in Shelta.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

  • Shelta is perhaps the last Old British dialect as yet existing which has thus far remained undiscovered.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

  • This language, or jargon, known as Shelta, has been the subject of much learned writing.


British Dictionary definitions for shelta

Shelta

noun
  1. a secret language used by some itinerant tinkers in Ireland and parts of Britain, based on systematically altered Gaelic
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Word Origin

C19: from earlier sheldrū, perhaps an arbitrary alteration of Old Irish bēlre speech
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

Word Origin and History for shelta

n.

secret language of Irish tinkers, 1876, of unknown origin. According to OED it mostly consists of Irish or Gaelic words with inversion or arbitrary substitution of initial consonants.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper