prostitute

See also: prostitutė

English

 
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Etymology

From Latin prōstitūtus, past participle of prōstituō, from prō̆ (for, before) +‎ statuō (to set up, to erect).

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɒstɪtjuːt/, /ˈpɹɒstɪtʃuːt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɑːstətuːt/
  • (file)

Verb

prostitute (third-person singular simple present prostitutes, present participle prostituting, simple past and past participle prostituted)

  1. (transitive, reflexive) To offer (oneself or someone else) for sexual activity in exchange for money. [from 16th c.]
    • 1611, Bible (Authorized Version), Leviticus xix. 29:
      Do not prostitute thy daughter.
  2. (transitive, derogatory) To sacrifice (oneself, one's talents etc.) in return for profit or other advantage; to exploit for base purposes.
    • 1740, John Dyer, “The Ruins of Rome. A Poem.”, in Poems. [...] Viz. I. Grongar Hill. II. The Ruins of Rome. III. The Fleece, in Four Books, London: Printed by John Hughs, for Messrs. R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley, [], published 1759, OCLC 991281870, pages 42–43:
      [T]heſe, their rights / In the vile ſtreets they proſtitute to ſale; / Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws, / Their native glorious freedom.

Synonyms

Related terms

Translations

Adjective

prostitute (comparative more prostitute, superlative most prostitute)

  1. (obsolete) Debased, corrupt; seeking personal gain by dishonourable means. [16th–19th c.]
    • 1791, Thomas Paine, Rights of Man:
      [H]e speaks a languages that merits not reply, and which can only excite contempt for his prostitute principles, or pity for his ignorance.
  2. Taking part in promiscuous sexual activity, licentious; (later, chiefly as attributive use of noun) that is a prostitute. [from 16th c.]
    • 2008, Niki Adams, Lisa Longstaff, The Guardian, letters, 23 February:
      They rightly say that attacks against prostitute women are common and that it's only when five are murdered in one place that it starts to provoke debate.
  3. (obsolete) Exposed, subjected (to something shameful). [16th–18th c.]
    • 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Philosophicall rudiments concerning government and society:
      As a matter of ease, exposed and prostitute to every Mother-wit, and to be attained without any great care or study.

Noun

prostitute (plural prostitutes)

  1. Any person (especially a woman) who has sexual intercourse or engages in other sexual activity for payment, especially as a means of livelihood. [from 18th c.]
    Synonyms: sex worker; see also Thesaurus:prostitute
    Hyponyms: see Thesaurus:prostitute
    1. A woman who has sexual intercourse or engages in other sexual activity for payment, especially as a means of livelihood. [from 17th c.]
      • 2012, Kelly Olson, Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society, page 50:
        Unfortunately, there is to my knowledge no visual evidence for the dress of the Roman prostitute, but the literary sources present us with a range of prostitute clothing (from rich accoutrements all the way down to nothing), []
  2. A person who does, or offers to do, a demeaning or dishonourable activity for money or personal gain; someone who acts in a dishonourable way for personal advantage. [from 17th c.]
    Synonym: sellout

Usage notes

  • Some speakers consider prostitutes (sex workers) to be female by default, and thus use "male prostitute" to refer to a man doing the same job.

Synonyms

Translations

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Italian

Noun

prostitute f

  1. plural of prostituta

Latin

Pronunciation

Participle

prōstitūte

  1. vocative masculine singular of prōstitūtus