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

Examples of prostitution in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

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 His charges in that case were mostly the same, with the exception of a few that include promoting prostitution, court records show. Christine Dempsey,, "Lured To Newington Motel By Ad, Victim Robbed At Knifepoint, Police Say," 13 July 2018 Tex, who ran a string of massage parlors in the 1970s and ’80s that became fronts for prostitution dens. Amanda Svachula, New York Times, "Scarlett Johansson Withdraws From Transgender Role After Backlash," 13 July 2018 Bustling prostitution industries sprang up around army bases and seaports, and soon the U.S. Navy was facing a full-on epidemic of venereal disease, Gordon explains. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 The men, including two listing Howard County addresses, were arrested at a hotel in the 8100 Block of Washington Boulevard in Jessup and charged with solicitation of prostitution and disorderly conduct. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Six men accused by Howard police of trying to hire prostitutes," 11 July 2018 Wright posted online prostitution advertisements for the girls and provided her phone number to arrange meetings between the girls and customers, the release states. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A Charlotte couple forced girls into prostitution to raise bond money, officials say," 11 July 2018 In Paris and London, adultery, fornication, and prostitution spiked. Cate Mcquaid,, "MFA’s ‘Casanova’ a voluptuous look at a notorious voluptuary," 6 July 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

18 Oct 2018

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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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