pros·​ti·​tu·​tion | \ˌprä-stə-ˈtü-shən, -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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for prostitution


harlotry, vice, whoredom

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of prostitution in a Sentence

She was arrested for prostitution. Writing commercials was a prostitution of his talents.

Recent Examples on the Web

Authorities are cracking down on homosexuality as part of a wider drive against prostitution and immorality. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown," 3 Nov. 2018 The report said the many North Korean refugees living in China are vulnerable to traffickers who force women into prostitution, forced marriages and domestic service or other labor. Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Fox News, "US human trafficking report cites mixed progress in Asia," 29 June 2018 According to prosecutors, Rivera lured the 19-year-old into prostitution with the promise of money. Aimee Ortiz,, "Two men extradited to Mass. for Braintree murder plead not guilty; ordered held without bail," 25 June 2018 An estimated 200,000 women and children in India are forced into prostitution every year, many lured by opportunities to model or act in films, according to Reuters. Jason Meisner,, "Young Indian actresses lured to Chicago in high-end prostitution scheme, feds charge," 13 June 2018 Authorities arrested a woman accused of forcing an 18-year-old into prostitution at a Metairie hotel, according to arrest reports. Michelle Hunter,, "Woman accused of sex trafficking 18-year-old girl: JPSO," 15 May 2018 According to Brown, after a childhood marked by abuse and drugs, she was raped and forced into prostitution by a pimp. Aj Willingham And Doug Criss, CNN, "A trafficking victim, serving life for killing a man who picked her up for sex, gets a clemency hearing," 4 May 2018 Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province on Friday caned several unmarried couples for showing affection in public and two women for prostitution before an enthusiastic audience of hundreds. Washington Post, "Indonesia’s Aceh canes couples for public shows of affection," 20 Apr. 2018 Then, a 93-count indictment was unsealed, charging several of its top officials with facilitating prostitution and revealing details about victims including minors as young as 14. Elizabeth Dias,, "Trump Signs Bill Amid Momentum to Crack Down on Sex Trafficking," 11 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of prostitution

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prostitution

Share prostitution

Statistics for prostitution

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prostitution

The first known use of prostitution was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prostitution



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- \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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