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 The slave lodge served as a brothel for passing sailors and other European men. Jaco Greeff, Quartz, 6 June 2021 The one rousing him this time is his lover, Essel (Alicia Vikander), in a brothel on Christmas morning. Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2021 The brothel made as much as $5,800 a day, dozens and dozens of men each., 27 July 2021 There’s lots of mob paraphernalia (including the actual phone booth from inside the Four Deuces brothel and saloon in Chicago, run by Jonny Torrio and Al Capone in the ’20s) and an actual distillery that turns out three kinds of moonshine. Jenn Harris Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2021 In the 1920s the building began operating as a speak-easy with a brothel above it, and Mayor Anton Cermak was said to hold weekly poker games in a secret room, according to a history of the building on the Southport Lanes website. Ryan Ori,, 7 July 2021 The rest of the episode is filled with secrets, blackmail, tacky décor, and a sketchy cast of locals who want the lucrative brothel for themselves. Emma Rubin, Vulture, 21 June 2021 Likewise, the woman who runs Molly's brothel isn't a stereotypical villain. Anne Cohen,, 3 June 2021 The only open brothel in town is now a museum, and tax revenue from small stakes gambling is responsible for restoring and reviving just about every inch of a crumbling town in danger of disappearing just a few decades ago. Brandon Schultz, Forbes, 30 May 2021

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

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The first known use of brothel was in 1566

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Last Updated

6 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brothel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of brothel

: a building in which prostitutes are available : bordello

More from Merriam-Webster on brothel Encyclopedia article about brothel


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