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

Definition of prostitute

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to offer for sexual intercourse in exchange for pay prostitute oneself
2 : 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



Definition of prostitute (Entry 2 of 3)

: devoted to corrupt purposes : prostituted


plural prostitutes

Definition of prostitute (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Other Words from prostitute


prostitutor \ ˈprä-​stə-​ˌtü-​tər How to pronounce prostitute (audio) , -​ˌtyü-​ \ noun

Examples of prostitute in a Sentence

Verb a writer who prostituted his talents by writing commercials a serious writer prostituting himself by writing pulp novels for money Noun the town was horrified to discover that she had once been a prostitute
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 His mother, who could not read or write, sometimes prostituted herself to keep food on the table. New York Times, 5 Dec. 2019 Court documents suggested that the girl had a falling out with Horenstein and allegedly ended up being prostituted by another woman, 27-year-old Souprina Blanc. Fox News, 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her disguise as a boy doesn’t prevent her from being kidnapped, drugged and shipped overseas to work as prostitute in San Francisco, where, in the 1880s, anti-Chinese sentiment is strong. Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2022 After discovering that Mencía is a prostitute, Rebeka's mother blackmails Mencía to break up with her daughter. Julia Moore,, 7 Apr. 2022 Born in 1775, historians speculate that Madame Ching may have started out as a prostitute or madame on a floating brothel. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Apr. 2022 The story follows a business arrangement that blossoms into love between corporate raider Edward Lewis and Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward, famously played by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in the movie. John Coffren, Baltimore Sun, 7 Apr. 2022 Cecsarini will direct Bill Cain's comedy about Shakespeare stuck in plague quarantine with a Puritan lawyer and a prostitute, trying to write a play. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2022 Celebrities can have their online presence scrubbed for having a nasty divorce, evading taxes or hiring a prostitute, or for no clear reason at all. New York Times, 18 Mar. 2022 The comedian gets pulled over after offering a ride to an alleged transgender prostitute. CNN, 18 Mar. 2022 Lin also instructed the investigator to look for compromising information about the candidate’s personal life and suggested trying to orchestrate a scandal involving a prostitute, according to the complaint. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 17 Mar. 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.

First Known Use of prostitute


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1563, in the meaning defined above


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prostitute


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

Learn More About prostitute

Time Traveler for prostitute

Time Traveler

The first known use of prostitute was in 1530

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Dictionary Entries Near prostitute



prostitute oneself

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Statistics for prostitute

Last Updated

26 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prostitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prostitute


pros·​ti·​tute | \ ˈpräs-tə-ˌtüt, -ˌtyüt \

Legal Definition of prostitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who engages in sexual activity indiscriminately especially for money — compare panderer, pimp


transitive verb
prostituted; prostituting

Legal Definition of prostitute (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on prostitute

Nglish: Translation of prostitute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prostitute for Arabic Speakers


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