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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 Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(in Brazil) a shanty or shantytown
[C20: from Portuguese]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(fəˈvɛl ə)

n., pl. -las.
a shantytown in or near a city in Brazil.
[1945–50; < Brazilian Portuguese]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


A Portuguese word meaning shantytown, used especially in Brazil.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
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References in periodicals archive ?
Her project - based on the densely populated Brazillian shanty towns known as favelas, which are common in Rio de Janeiro - began to take shape during a holiday.
She said: "I wanted to give the residents of the favelas a voice.
Meanwhile, the gangs have expelled over 40 followers or priests from favelas in the last year alone who refused to abandon their faiths, according to one human rights group.
Com a bandeira de ser uma mulher, negra e favelada militante dos direitos humanos ela conseguiu o apoio de outros moradores de favelas, de intelectuais, de parte do movimento negros, de mulheres, de jovens universitarios que viam naquela mulher tao diferente dos outros candidatos uma oportunidade de fazer outra politica, de fazer outro mundo possivel.
The first phase consisted of an ethnographic study conducted in two favelas in Rio de Janeiro --the Complexo do Alemao and Morro do Falet.
Beyond the poverty, violence, drug trafficking and clashes with the military police, he says there is culture, history, and stories of civic participation and everyday people just trying to get by - tales that are too often ignored even though nearly a quarter of Rio's population, or about 1.5 million people, live in the city's 1,000 favelas.