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 In addition to her brothel-managing dreams, Mazzei fantasized about becoming a writer and studied comparative literature at UC Berkeley, before returning to Boulder with no idea about what to do with her life. Clark Collis,, "Camgirl author Isa Mazzei on telling the naked truth about the sex industry in her memoir," 18 Nov. 2019 The one about the Polish troupe performing night after night, year after year, city upon city in a play about the relationship between the daughter of a brothel owner and a prostitute. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "From Steve Martin’s “Bright Star” to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things,” 10 must-see fall plays in Colorado," 8 Sep. 2019 Janet Leigh plays Vargas’ wife, who gets kidnapped, and there is a brief but stunning appearance by Marlene Dietrich, as a fortune telling brothel owner named Tanya. Rick Kogan,, "Noir City," 4 Sep. 2019 This is Rauha, the daughter of a woman who runs a brothel among other successful enterprises, a hard-nosed businesswoman who has passed on her steely character to her daughter—with later, unhappy consequences. Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, "‘Deep River’ Review: In the Heart of the Forest Primeval," 28 June 2019 Patershol was once a working-class district, home to brothels and dingy drinking dens; it was gentrified in the ’80s and now conceals some of the most exciting (and exclusive) restaurants in the city. National Geographic, "Three by land: Life-changing tales from female travelers," 14 Nov. 2019 The scene was painted on the wall of a building that likely functioned as both a tavern and brothel. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unearth Bloody Gladiator Fresco in Pompeii," 15 Oct. 2019 The stone streets are filled with tour guides walking backward and pointing out the sites: the entrance to the Red Keep, Littlefinger’s brothel. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 Japan occupied the Korean peninsula for over three decades and forced Koreans to work in its factories and brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "South Korea’s turning to the WTO over Japan’s weaponization of trade," 10 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for brothel

Time Traveler

The first known use of brothel was in 1566

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Statistics for brothel

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Brothel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brothel

Spanish Central: Translation of brothel Encyclopedia article about brothel

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