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 Piaf was abandoned by her parents, raised in a brothel, lost the love of her life in a plane crash, endured drug addiction. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "From ‘I Am Woman’ to ‘Get on Up’: Movies that hit the right note," 11 Sep. 2020 The fictional Golden Tip, a front for a high-end brothel, was based on a gas station owned by Scotty Bowers, a real-life Hollywood pimp. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Hollywood' Re-created Old Hollywood, From George Cukor's Dining Room to the 1948 Oscars," 11 Aug. 2020 For a single case, police might visit a pizza shop, raid a brothel, lock down a hospital, and surveil a parking lot. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, "The End of The Fictional Cop," 31 July 2020 Window brothel operators that rent their buildings from landlords are at risk of bankruptcy without the income from renting out their windows. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Why Amsterdam's Red Light District May Not Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic," 24 June 2020 If passed, the District would become the only U.S. jurisdiction to allow prostitution, outside of some counties in Nevada where about 20 legal brothels exist. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "D.C. leaders hear from public over proposal to decriminalize sex work," 18 Oct. 2019 Prostitution in the United States is legal only in a few counties in Nevada, which has about 20 legal brothels. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "In Washington, a Fight to Decriminalize Prostitution Divides Allies," 17 Oct. 2019 Golden Tip Gas is a front for Ernie's brothel, which, honestly, should've been obvious from the name. Jean Bentley,, "Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood Limited Series Binge Club: Episodes 1-7," 4 May 2020 Jamie and Claire go to the brothel, wanting to question the women about Bonnet. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Outlander recap: For who could ever learn to love a beast...," 27 Apr. 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

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brothel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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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