From Middle English harlot, from Old French harlot, herlot, arlot (“vagabond; tramp”), of obscure origin. Likely ultimately of Germanic origin, either from a derivation of *harjaz (“army; camp; warrior; military leader”) or from a diminutive of *karilaz (“man; fellow”). Compare English carlot.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈhɑːlət/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈhɑɹlət/
Audio (US) (file)
harlot (plural harlots)
- (derogatory, offensive, dated) A female prostitute.
- c. 1594, William Shakespeare, “The Comedie of Errors”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act 5, scene 1], lines 204-205:
- This day, great duke, she shut the doors upon me, / While she with harlots feasted in my house.
- 1980, Dave Murray, "Charlotte the Harlot", in Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden.
- Charlotte the Harlot show me your legs, / Charlotte the Harlot take me to bed. / Charlotte the Harlot let me see blood, / Charlotte the Harlot let me see love.
- (derogatory, offensive) A female who is considered promiscuous.
- (obsolete) A churl; a common man; a person, male or female, of low birth.
- 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Prologues”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], OCLC 230972125; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, […], [London]: […] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes […], 1542, OCLC 932884868:
- He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
- (obsolete) A person given to low conduct; a rogue; a cheat; a rascal.
- 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Reues Tale”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], OCLC 230972125; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, […], [London]: […] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes […], 1542, OCLC 932884868:
- "Ye, false harlot," quod the millere, "hast? A, false traitor! false clerk!" quod he, Tow shalt be deed, by Goddes dignitee!
- (female prostitute): see Thesaurus:prostitute
- (promiscuous woman): see Thesaurus:promiscuous woman
- (churl): see Thesaurus:rural dweller
- (person given to low conduct): see Thesaurus:villain
- To play the harlot; to practice lewdness.
- 1614, John Milton, Animadversions upon the Remonstrants Defense against Smectymnuus:
- […] they that spend their youth in loitering, bezzling, and harlotting, their studies in unprofitable questions, and barbarous sophistry
- (now uncommon) Wanton; lewd; low; base.
- 1943, Nick Joaquin, “It was Later than we Thought”, in Philippine Review:
- The intellection in it, kiddo—the intellection.... That most harlot of harlots... talking of me, laughing at me... I'll kill her....