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)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Currens allegedly drove the victim from Panama City to Mobile in March with plans to force the girl to prostitute herself during Mardi Gras, according to U.S. Attorney Richard W. Moore. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 19 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Perez was arrested without incident and charged with soliciting a prostitute. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 17 Sep. 2021 According to the release, the three people arrested are under investigation for exploitation of a prostitute, aiding prostitution, money laundering, a pattern of unlawful activity and maintaining a public nuisance. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Sep. 2021 A week later, a second prostitute, Matilda Clover, woke neighbors with her screams. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 20 Aug. 2021 But once Tobey Maguire’s scheming soldier Tully is murdered, Jake uncovers a plan that involves high-tech weapons and a stormy prostitute (Cate Blanchett) whose husband may or may not be dead. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 7 July 2021 The aging prostitute and the young orphan clash at first but soon grow to see each other in a way that no one else does, and the song rides on the emotions of their story into the end credits. Tim Greiving, Los Angeles Times, 22 Mar. 2021 Gold’s brother lives in University Heights, and his prostitute confidante resides at E. 30th and Woodland Avenue. cleveland, 2 Aug. 2021 At just 12 years old, Jodie Foster delivered one of the defining performances of her career as a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s grueling portrait of social dysfunction on the streets of 1970s New York. Vogue, 6 July 2021 That’s the case with Miss Beauties, a prostitute who has been brutalized. David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2021

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.

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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

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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

Cite this Entry

“Prostitute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for prostitute



English Language Learners Definition of prostitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use (something valuable, such as talent) in a way that is not appropriate or respectable and especially to earn money



English Language Learners Definition of prostitute (Entry 3 of 2)

: a person who has sex with someone in exchange for money


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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