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A large shack near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

A shack (or, in some areas, shanty) is a type of small shelter or dwelling, often primitive or rudimentary in design and construction.

Unlike huts, shacks are constructed by hand using available materials; however, whereas huts are usually rural and made of natural materials (mud, rocks, sticks, etc.) shacks are generally composed of scavenged man-made materials like abandoned construction debris, repurposed consumer waste and other useful discarded objects that can be quickly acquired at little or no cost and fashioned into a small dwelling.


In areas of high population density and high poverty, shacks are often the most prevalent form of housing; it is possible that up to a billion people worldwide live in shacks.[1] Fire is a significant hazard in tight-knit shack settlements.[2] Settlements composed mostly or entirely of shacks are known as slums or shanty towns.

In Australian English shack can also refer to a small holiday house with limited conveniences, for instance it may not have running water or electricity.

In Canadian oilfield drilling, a shack can also be the word for a wellsite trailer. These structures are notorious among oilfield workers for being cramped, uncomfortable and generally unpleasant to be in.


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