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 The 52-year-old from Kerrville was charged with prostitution of a person under 18. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 17 Sep. 2021 In all, six former Backpage operators have pleaded not guilty to charges of facilitating prostitution. Fox News, 15 Sep. 2021 The lawsuit seeks to abolish Nevada’s legal prostitution statutes as unconstitutional and a violation of federal anti-trafficking laws. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 15 Sep. 2021 Barrios says that prostitution, drug sales, and assaults were happening on the cul-de-sac where Mary’s Kitchen is located, which is within eyesight of Orange Police Department headquarters. Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2021 Industry insiders, with their truffle-pig noses for sniffing out scandal from the air, suspected more to the story, perhaps involving prostitution, large-scale payola, or a hard-drug racket. Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone, 9 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 Dan Hyer, the former sales and marketing director for Backpage, has also pleaded guilty to conspiring to facilitate prostitution through the website. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2021 Through friends, Shakira hears stories of dissolute cities filled with broken marriages and prostitution. Anand Gopal, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near prostitution

prostitute oneself



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Statistics for prostitution

Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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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- 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

More from Merriam-Webster on prostitution

Nglish: Translation of prostitution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prostitution for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prostitution


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