har·​lot | \ ˈhär-lət How to pronounce harlot (audio) \
plural harlots

Definition of harlot

old-fashioned, disparaging
: a person who has sex with someone in exchange for money : prostitute … the jewel-eyed harlots of his imagination …— James Joyce … the early-eighteenth-century world, where wigs don't stay on straight, clubmen fall over themselves in drunken stupors, and harlots make their way …— Sanford Schwartz … whose murdered body was covered with roses by a harlot who had loved him …— Oscar Wilde

Examples of harlot in a Sentence

the touristy port town little resembled the haven for thieves, cutthroats, and harlots it had once been
Recent Examples on the Web His daughter-in-law Tamar, who had been widowed from two of Yehuda’s sons and was blocked by Yehuda from marrying the third, dresses as a harlot and has relations with Yehuda. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, 21 Dec. 2020 What also fascinated me is in many ways, the harlots had more agency than aristocratic women. Morena Duwe, Billboard, 26 Aug. 2019 The three harlots are played tiresomely, without weight or seriousness. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 15 June 2018 When Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky surfaced in 1998, conservatives attacked him as the symbol of a lost and immoral society, while liberals minimized his offenses and portrayed the young intern as a harlot. Laila Lalami, New York Times, 26 June 2018 Gamblers, occultists, harlots, castrato singers, and masked revelers populated the galleries alongside beautifully crafted wall sconces, ball gowns, and porcelain tureens. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Mar. 2018 Carla Stewart captures the complexities of Shug Avery, the harlot with the heart of gold, in a robust performance, finding her own mix of tragedy and triumph, which motivates Celie to move toward her own freedom. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, 21 Feb. 2018 She was branded as a harlot; Viacom and its subsidiaries stopped playing her songs and videos. Jack Dickey, SI.com, 2 Feb. 2018 If King were alive today, his magnificent oratory would call us to organize, to take back our country, to throw out of Congress and state legislatures the gigolos and harlots of the rich, and to tell corporate America that wealthfare is ended. The Rev. Tex Sample, kansascity, 15 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of harlot

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harlot

Middle English, rogue, buffoon, female prostitute, from Anglo-French herlot beggar, vagabond

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About harlot

Time Traveler for harlot

Time Traveler

The first known use of harlot was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near harlot




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for harlot

Cite this Entry

“Harlot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harlot. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for harlot



English Language Learners Definition of harlot


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!