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pros·​ti·​tute ˈprä-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce prostitute (audio)
prostituted; prostituting; prostitutes

transitive verb

: to offer for sexual intercourse in exchange for pay
prostitute oneself
: to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes : debase
prostitute one's talents

intransitive verb

: to act as a prostitute : to prostitute oneself
When she prostituted, she worked as a call girl …Joanne Meyerowitz
prostitutor noun


2 of 3


: devoted to corrupt purposes : prostituted


3 of 3


plural prostitutes
: a person who engages in sexual intercourse in exchange for pay
: a person (such as a writer or painter) who deliberately debases his or her talents (as for money)

Example Sentences

Verb a writer who prostituted his talents by writing commercials a serious writer prostituting himself by writing pulp novels for money Noun was caught procuring the services of a prostitute
Recent Examples on the Web
This film of a widowed housewife (Delphine Seyrig) — her routine chores, maternal social-role obligations, and limited freedom (to prostitute herself, then exact murderous revenge on a male client) — is deliberately anti-dramatic and misandrist. Armond White, National Review, 7 Dec. 2022 Roberts portrays prostitute Vivian Ward, who is hired by businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) to be his fake girlfriend for a week of events in Los Angeles. The Editors, Town & Country, 9 July 2022 Gormican and co-writer Kevin Etten don’t account for filmgoers’ ironic awareness that actors can prostitute themselves and occasionally redeem lousy assignments with exemplary work. Armond White, National Review, 22 Apr. 2022 Prosecutors said Price met the two underage girls from Texas through Instagram and encouraged both to prostitute themselves. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Sep. 2020 But over the years, like in Venice and Barcelona, floods of visitors have overwhelmed local lives -- from puking stoners to prostitute stalkers. Ruben Munsterman, Fortune, 9 June 2020 The victim told police that Veasley spoke to her about prostituting herself and provided her with a pack of condoms. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 May 2020 Celia now takes refuge in a ravine beneath a highway overpass with other homeless children who dumpster dive for food and prostitute themselves for a few dollars or the promise of a hot meal or drugs. Elizabeth Hand, Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2019 The woman testified that Tawfeeq talked to her about how to prostitute herself to make extra money. Amanda Marrazzo,, 7 Nov. 2019
And the rest is history: Marshall waved his sitcom-ic magic wand over the whole thing and turned into a Disney princess story while also keeping the prostitute part. Debby Wolfinsohn,, 4 Jan. 2023 Everett Collection Abused by his prostitute mother, Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) turns to a life of crime as an adult and becomes a vicious serial killer. Steven Thrash,, 27 Oct. 2022 Police are thinking differently about the undetermined death of a woman previously thought to have been killed in a rash of prostitute murders on Long Island, New York. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 13 May 2022 But the record suggests that Comey might have had another reason for taking the unverified story of the prostitute video to Trump. New York Times, 15 Jan. 2017 Now Julianna cobbles together a living as a cocktail waitress, part-time exotic dancer and quasi-prostitute. Oline H. Cogdill,, 11 Aug. 2020
When Marjan Amiri marched for women’s rights on the streets of Kabul in September, Taliban gunmen called her a prostitute, kicked her and threatened to shoot her in the head. Margherita Stancati, WSJ, 15 Dec. 2021 It’s got to be tough being in that kind of business, being a prostitute. Ben Crandell,, 31 Aug. 2021 This enveloping historical drama set in 1850s Monterey centers on Eliza, recently widowed and working as a prostitute. People Staff, Peoplemag, 3 Feb. 2023 Belle de Jour, a film about a French woman who, unable to be intimate with her husband, decides to become a high class prostitute. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 30 Nov. 2022 Juana Rivera, 19 of Lowell, allegedly recruited Rodriguez, who was homeless, to be a prostitute, but then set her up to be robbed after animosity and conflict developed between the two. Adam Sennott,, 27 Jan. 2023 Cecil Tim Morrison, a teacher at Marcus High School and the football team’s offensive coordinator, resigned after his arrest for solicitation of a prostitute, according to the Lewisville Independent School District (ISD). Sarah Rumpf, Fox News, 25 Jan. 2023 Because the terrorist in question, one Theo, was a great-grandson of Vincent van Gogh, his grandfather the son of the prostitute to whom Vincent gave the lobe of his ear and, counterfactually, a child. Wyatt Mason, Harper’s Magazine , 6 Jan. 2023 In 2019, Kraft was charged with two counts of solicitation of a prostitute, but those charges were later dropped because of a technicality. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, 28 June 2022 See More

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

Word History



Latin prostitutus, past participle of prostituere, from pro- before + statuere to station — more at pro-, statute

First Known Use


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1563, in the meaning defined above


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of prostitute was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near prostitute

Cite this Entry

“Prostitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
pros·​ti·​tute ˈpräs-tə-ˌt(y)üt How to pronounce prostitute (audio)
prostituted; prostituting
: to put (as one's talents) to unworthy uses : debase


2 of 2 noun
: a person who engages in sexual activities for money

Legal Definition


1 of 2 noun
ˈpräs-tə-ˌtüt, -ˌtyüt
: a person who engages in sexual activity indiscriminately especially for money compare panderer, pimp


2 of 2 transitive verb
prostituted; prostituting
: to offer as a prostitute

History and Etymology for prostitute

Transitive verb

Latin prostitutus, past participle of prostituere, from pro- before + statuere to cause to stand, place

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