broth·​el | \ ˈbrä-thəl How to pronounce brothel (audio) , ˈbrȯ- also -t͟həl How to pronounce brothel (audio) \
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 The profession in question was the running of a brothel, after all, and the cops busted up the first United States performance of this play. Eric Grode, New York Times, "From ‘Sex’ to ‘Superstar,’ 10 Plays That Caused a Stir," 11 Sep. 2019 Between 2009 and 2012 the number of Thai massage parlours in Stockholm, which often double as brothels, nearly tripled to 250, according to the Swedish police. The Economist, "The idea of criminalising prostitutes’ clients is spreading," 15 June 2019 North Korean women are often enslaved in brothels, sold into repressive marriages or made to perform graphic acts in front of webcams in satellite towns near cities close to China's border with North Korea, the KFI found. Julie Zaugg, CNN, "These North Korean defectors were sold into China as cybersex slaves. Then they escaped," 9 June 2019 Activists in the two counties, which have 40% of the state’s brothels, have until Friday to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. David Montero,, "Brothel owner and reality TV star Dennis Hof advances in Nevada election," 13 June 2018 Previously, the bar/restaurant was the Blake Street Vault, and a while before that, a brothel (yes, another one). Allyson Reedy, The Know, "Are these Colorado restaurants haunted? That depends on who you ask.," 23 Aug. 2019 Hundreds of Thai women were trafficked to U.S. spas and brothels, and tens of millions of dollars were laundered back to Thailand. USA Today, "Sex trafficking is behind the lucrative illicit massage business. Why police can't stop it.," 30 July 2019 Sixty miles west of Las Vegas, Pahrump and the surrounding area are home to brothels, marijuana farms and a surprising number of tigers., "The trouble with tigers in America," 13 July 2019 Meanwhile, the Wells girls are making enemies while running their lucrative brothel, include a new pimp in town. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch on Wednesday: Aunt Lydia’s past is revealed on The Handmaid's Tale," 10 July 2019

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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Statistics for brothel

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for brothel

The first known use of brothel was in 1566

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on brothel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brothel

Spanish Central: Translation of brothel Encyclopedia article about brothel

Comments on brothel

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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