A shantytown or slum, especially in Brazil.
[Brazilian Portuguese, after the Morro da Favela, a ramshackle housing area constructed on a hill in Rio de Janeiro in 1897 by impoverished soldiers returning from the suppression of a separatist movement in northeast Brazil, after the Morro da Favela, literally, "hill of the favela," a hill in northeast Brazil fortified by the soldiers during the conflict, from favela, the Brazilian shrub Cnidoscolus quercifolius of the spurge family bearing seeds resembling fava beans, from diminutive of Portuguese fava, fava bean, from Latin faba; see bha-bhā in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus