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

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Synonyms for prostitution


harlotry, vice, whoredom

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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

In 2009, Craigslist began manually screening ads at the behest of several state attorneys general, concerned that the site was promoting prostitution. Michael Nedelman, CNN, "After Craigslist personals go dark, sex workers fear what's next," 10 Apr. 2018 And in 2009, Daniels even explored a run for the U.S. Senate to replace Republican David Vitter after he was connected to a Washington, D.C., prostitution ring. Amy Chozick, Vogue, "Stormy Daniels Isn’t Backing Down," 28 Aug. 2018 Davis spent four months in New York's Riker's Island prison for running a prostitution ring with 10,000 clients, which the former madam has claimed included the discgraced ex-Gov. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "'Manhattan Madam' Kristin Davis reveals what Mueller grand jury asked her in Russia probe," 20 Aug. 2018 In April Ferrer pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges – facilitating prostitution through interstate commerce and engaging in money laundering. Paul Brinkmann,, " faces expanded lawsuit from anti-sex-trafficking group," 9 May 2018 Desperately poor, with no formal schooling, many were lured into prostitution by the predatory cigar-smoking men in black who Degas depicts lurking around the foyer, studio and dressing rooms of the opera house. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Little Dancer Aged Fourteen’ Review: Rat-Girl of the Paris Opera," 16 Nov. 2018 And a whopping 80 percent of them are women and girls, mostly taken from their homes to be forced into prostitution abroad. Megan Friedman, Marie Claire, "14 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men," 6 Nov. 2018 Women were similarly tricked and forced into prostitution. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 An indictment said a co-conspirator identified as J.B. met the girl in New Orleans and recruited her into prostitution. Fox News, "Son of former Louisiana chief justice charged with sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl," 27 Sep. 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.

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First Known Use of prostitution

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for prostitution

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for prostitution

The first known use of prostitution was in 1553

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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

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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).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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