Definition of prostitute in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈprɒstɪtjuːt/


1A person, typically a woman, who engages in sexual activity for payment.
Example sentences
  • Others attended the ‘circuses’ in which prostitutes performed sexual stunts.
  • He had, once he had achieved adolescence, moved from prostitute to prostitute, whore to whore, but he had never yet known love.
  • Such laws effectively deny prostitutes the right to work indoors in a warm, safe, and clean place.
whore, sex worker, call girl, white slave;
male prostitute, rent boy, call boy, gigolo
euphemistic model, escort, masseuse
British  tom;
French fille de joie;
Spanish puta;
North American  sporting girl/woman/lady, chippy
informal pro, moll, tail, ho, brass nail, grande horizontale, woman on the game, working girl, member of the oldest profession, renter, toy boy
North American informal hooker, hustler
vulgar slang bumboy
dated tart, streetwalker, woman of the streets, lady/woman of the night, scarlet woman, cocotte
archaic courtesan, strumpet, harlot, trollop, wanton, woman of ill repute, lady of pleasure, Cyprian, doxy, drab, quean, trull, wench
rare sing-song girl, succubus
1.1A person who misuses their talents or behaves unworthily for personal or financial gain: careerist political prostitutes


[with object]
1Offer (someone, typically a woman) for sexual activity in exchange for payment: although she was paid £15 to join a man at his table, she never prostituted herself
More example sentences
  • The local bartender runs a brothel, prostituting his own wife for kicks.
  • He prostituted his wife and forced his children to beg to support his drug habit.
  • He also describes him as a cruel and wicked leader who prostituted his daughter when he ran short of money.
1.1Put (oneself or one’s talents) to an unworthy or corrupt use for personal or financial gain: his willingness to prostitute himself to the worst instincts of the electorate
More example sentences
  • The wilderness towns gaily prostitute themselves to such people.
  • The day-to-day experiences of persons who are prostituting themselves are equally bleak.
  • If she does, it will not be because she has prostituted her talents like most modern female ‘pop stars’.
betray, sacrifice, profane, sell, sell out, debase, degrade, demean, devalue, cheapen, lower, misapply, misemploy, misuse, pervert, squander, waste;
abandon one's principles, be untrue to oneself



Pronunciation: /ˈprɒstɪtjuːtə/


Mid 16th century (as a verb): from Latin prostitut- 'exposed publicly, offered for sale', from the verb prostituere, from pro- 'before' + statuere 'set up, place'.

  • constitution from Middle English:

    A constitution once referred to a law, as well as to a body of laws or customs. It comes from Latin constituere ‘establish, appoint’ from con- ‘together’ and statuere ‘set up, place’. The latter is a rich source of English words including destitute (Late Middle English) literally ‘placed away’ so forsaken; institute (Middle English) something set up or established; restitution (Middle English) a re-establishing; statue (Middle English) something set up; and substitute (Late Middle English) someone set up instead of another. Prostitute (mid 16th century) comes from Latin prostituere ‘expose publicly, offer for sale’, from pro- ‘before’ and statuere ‘set up, place’.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words