Stuff I've Googled, what I Googled a few minutes ago, what I'm Googling now, why I'm Googling, and other fascinating information.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's the origin of the word "ghetto"?


Search
: ghetto etymology

Why: Elvis Presley's lovely "In the Ghetto" just came on my iPod Genius Mix - which, by the way, started with some Bright Eyes song that I accidentally clicked, later played "Fembot" by Robyn, and is now playing a live version of "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."

Anyway, despite "In the Ghetto" being about poor folk in Chicago, I know ghettos were originally areas of concentrated Jewish population in Italy.
Answer: Nobody knows! It's mainly Italian. Theories of origin.
  • Yiddish get, "deed of separation" (like what you have to get [get!] for a Jewish divorce)
  • Venetian getto, "foundry" - there was one near the site of that city's ghetto in 1516)
  • Egitto "Egypt," from L. Aegyptus (presumably in memory of the exile)
  • Italian borghetto, "small section of a town" (borough + ghetto)
  • Venetian ghetor or ghet, "slag" - not the slag you're thinking of, but "a partially vitreous by-product of smelting ore to separate the metal fraction from the unwanted fraction"
Source: EtymOnline, Wikipedia

The More You Know: Maybe you would like to hear Elvis's dynamite rendition of "Always on My Mind" (though I still prefer the one by Pet Shop Boys):

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Hits!