[Ads-l] zwilling plane; ghetto

Colin Morris colin at CS.TORONTO.EDU
Mon Mar 1 18:07:57 UTC 2021

(I joined the list after Jonathan sent his message, so please forgive the
*ghetto* reply, lacking a reply-to header)

This is a sense that's been around for a while - I'm sure I would have
heard it and used it when I was in high school in the mid-2000's. I found a
couple instances indexed by COCA circa 2010:

2010: "they don’t have to worry about whether 3rd party apps will support
Twitter image hosting vs. Twitpic versus rolling their own ghetto
solution." (

2012: "Even if you want to be pedantic, and suggest that people actually
can memorize that crap and not need a ghetto DNS in the form of writing
down the IPs and keeping a piece of paper beside their computer," (

Also, in 2010 a writer in the magazine Food & Drink talks about making a
"ghetto version" of a recipe:

The earliest relevant example I could find was a 2003 episode of Survivor
(again, indexed by COCA). A team receives a prize of middling quality. One
of the contestants says "I'd call it a ghetto Christmas. It's like asking
for an Incredible Hulk doll and... and getting your sister's Ken doll
painted green." Here ghetto seems to mostly carry the meaning of "low
quality", but the analogy tacked on seems to show the
"makeshift/jury-rigged" sense creeping in. (Also, FWIW, the contestant here
is Jonny Fairplay, a white man who, based on his Wikipedia page, probably
had little first-hand experience of the ghetto.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list