pros·​ti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌprä-stə-ˈtü-shən How to pronounce prostitution (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of prostitution

1 : the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money
2 : the state of being prostituted : debasement

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Synonyms for prostitution


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Examples of prostitution in a Sentence

She was arrested for prostitution. Writing commercials was a prostitution of his talents.
Recent Examples on the Web There are countless dangers that might befall the narrator—not necessarily just prostitution. Cressida Leyshon, The New Yorker, "Douglas Stuart on Growing Up Queer Before the Internet," 6 Jan. 2020 The division has become more pronounced in recent years with more mainstream acceptance of decriminalizing prostitution. Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, "Charged With Prostitution, She Went to a Special Court. Did It Help?," 6 Jan. 2020 Two women were arrested today on charges of promoting prostitution after an undercover operation at a massage parlor in Athens. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Women charged with promoting prostitution at massage parlor," 19 Dec. 2019 Should prostitution be considered a job like any other, whose practitioners could be empowered by workplace protections if it were made legal?, "Sex work or sexual abuse? US Representative Pressley, activists debate decriminalizing prostitution - The Boston Globe," 17 Dec. 2019 Concerned for her safety, that relative had turned over the runaway girl’s phone records to investigators, who found that the girl’s phone had been in constant contact with a number listed on numerous online prostitution advertisements. Mario Ariza,, "Traffickers sold 13-year-old girl for sex hundreds of times, cops say," 3 Dec. 2019 Camarena is accused of raping a person in the living room of a camper on Sept. 10, the indictment states, and forcing that person to engage in prostitution involving the exchange of drugs. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "Man ‘of interest’ in Mat-Su triple homicide indicted on sex assault and trafficking charges," 23 Nov. 2019 Fedor said her bill would only close the loophole for older minors, and would not decriminalize prostitution for minors as called for by Shared Hope. James Pilcher,, "Ohio, Kentucky remain focus states on sex trafficking report cards," 20 Nov. 2019 The former owner of an Inver Grove Heights massage business has been sentenced to five years and five months in prison for promoting prostitution. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Former owner of Inver Grove Heights massage business sentenced for promoting prostitution," 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prostitution.' 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 prostitution

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for prostitution

Time Traveler

The first known use of prostitution was in 1553

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Statistics for prostitution

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prostitution.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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How to pronounce prostitution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prostitution

: the work of a prostitute : the act of having sex in exchange for money
: the use of a skill or ability in a way that is not appropriate or respectable


pros·​ti·​tu·​tion | \ ˌpräs-tə-ˈtü-shən, -ˈtyü- How to pronounce prostitution (audio) \

Legal Definition of prostitution

: the act or practice of engaging in sexual activity indiscriminately especially for money also : the crime of engaging in such activity

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Comments on prostitution

What made you want to look up prostitution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


experienced by way of someone else

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