world's oldest profession

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Alternative forms[edit]


1888,[1] coined by Rudyard Kipling as “most ancient profession in the world”.[2] Alternative forms appeared in early 1900s, present form popular by 1930s.[2] Similar terms with various senses (not necessarily prostitution) exist in other languages.


the world's oldest profession (plural not attested)

  1. (euphemistic) Prostitution.


Some local terms have slight variants while others are strict translations with varying degrees of usage.


  1. ^ world's oldest profession” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Is Prostitution Really the World's Oldest Profession? It is pretty old., by Forrest Wickman, Slate, March 6, 2012