broth·​el | \ ˈbrä-thəl How to pronounce brothel (audio) , ˈbrȯ- How to pronounce brothel (audio) also -t͟həl \
plural brothels

Definition of brothel

: a building in which prostitutes are available For recreation, there were bars, after-hours joints, pool halls, strip joints, brothels, and transient motels.— Darlene Nall Elizaveta is happy to become the madam of a high-class brothel.— Jonathan Fast In the brutal red-light district of Chicago, at the dawn of the 20th century, most brothels emphasized "efficiency instead of fantasy."— Ada Calhoun

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Examples of brothel in a Sentence

the district is infamous for its brothels and drug dealers
Recent Examples on the Web There is a popular legend that 18th-century pirates would frequent a brothel on the cay called Love-and-Go, hence the name Lovango. Globe Staff,, "Nantucket hoteliers buy a private Caribbean island for their latest resort," 13 Jan. 2021 In Heidelberg, a city famous for its poets and philosophers, one brothel came up with a side business. William Boston, WSJ, "In Covid-19 Lockdowns, Businesses Hunt for Loopholes," 24 Dec. 2020 When a young German named Frederick Gerstacker lived at Dolores in 1850, the mission and its outbuildings housed two taverns, a German-run brewery, a drinking and gambling saloon, and what appears to have been a brothel. Gary Kamiya,, "A private toll road to Mission Dolores in 1851 opened S.F. to development," 27 Nov. 2020 Most recently, Dennis Hof, a brothel owner and reality TV star, won a seat in the Nevada state legislature in 2018. Washington Post, "A North Dakota Republican died of covid-19 in October. He still won his election.," 4 Nov. 2020 About three weeks before his victory, Hof, who had been backed by Roger Stone and Grover Norquist, was found dead at his Love Ranch brothel outside Las Vegas. Washington Post, "A North Dakota Republican died of covid-19 in October. He still won his election.," 4 Nov. 2020 The day before Christmas Eve 1888, Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear and gave it to a woman at a brothel for safekeeping. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Research Links Vincent van Gogh’s Delirium to Alcohol Withdrawal," 5 Nov. 2020 The events of this gripping drama led him to a brothel controlled by a pedophile kingpin and later, an auction house. Katey Clifford, al, "How to watch the British drama ‘Save Me Too’ on Peacock," 5 Nov. 2020 Police raided a brothel in the autonomous community of La Rioja four times in eight days last month for violating health codes designed to control infections. Emilio Morenatti, Star Tribune, "Police on curfew patrol as Spain fights nightlife infections," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brothel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brothel

1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brothel

Middle English, worthless fellow, prostitute, from brothen, past participle of brethen to waste away, go to ruin, from Old English brēothan to waste away; akin to Old English brēotan to break — more at brittle

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Time Traveler for brothel

Time Traveler

The first known use of brothel was in 1566

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Statistics for brothel

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brothel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for brothel


How to pronounce brothel (audio) How to pronounce brothel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brothel

: a building in which prostitutes are available

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