Dictionary.com

Shelta

[ shel-tuh ]
/ ˈʃɛl tə /
Save This Word!

noun

a private language, based in part on Irish, used among Travelers in the British Isles.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!

In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of Shelta

First recorded in 1875–80; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
  • 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.

    The Gypsy's Parson|George Hall
  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for Shelta

Shelta
/ (ˈʃɛltə) /

noun

a secret language used by some itinerant tinkers in Ireland and parts of Britain, based on systematically altered Gaelic
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
Learn A New Word Right Now!