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From Latin prōstitutus, past participle of prōstituō, from pro- (for, before) +‎ statuō (to set up, to erect).



prostitute (plural prostitutes)

  1. A person who performs sexual activity for payment, especially a woman
    I currently work as a prostitute in order to pay off my university debts.
  2. A person who is perceived as engaging in sexual activity with many people.
  3. A person who does, or offers to do, an activity for money, despite personal dislike or dishonour.

Usage notes

  • The noun prostitute, in its sexual senses, does not necessarily refer to a woman; nonetheless, it primarily refers to women. Therefore, when the referent is a man, this is frequently made explicit by using the adjective male, even in contexts where the referent's sex is already clear. For example, the phrasing "he became a prostitute" is quite correct, but the phrasing "he became a male prostitute" is just as common, despite its seeming redundancy. However, male prostitute occurs only in the sexual senses, especially the central literal sense of "one who performs sexual activity for payment"; in non-sexual senses, prostitute is gender-neutral.




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

  1. (transitive, usually reflexively) To perform sexual activity for money
  2. (transitive) To make another person, or organisation, prostitute themselves.
    • Bible, Leviticus xix. 29
      Do not prostitute thy daughter.
  3. (transitive, derogatory) To use one's talents in return for money or fame
  4. (figuratively) To exploit for base purposes; to whore.
    Yet again a commercial firm had prostituted a traditional song by setting an advertising jingle to its tune.

Related terms




prostitute f

  1. plural form of prostituta




  1. vocative masculine singular of prōstitutus