Brothel is from breothan, an Old English word meaning to go to ruin, or degenerate. A brothel first meant a wretch or scoundrel, and later a prostitute; it acquired its modern meaning because of confusion with the completely separate word bordel (from the Latin bordellum, a small farm or cottage). Prostitute is from the Latin prostituere (to expose publicly, to offer for sale). Courtesan is from the Italian cortigiana (courtier) and was originally a prostitute attached to a court. Pornography is from the Greek pornographos (porne, prostitute and graphein, to write).
Help us produce more like this
Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. With a new podcast, eBooks, tote bags and magazine subscriptions on offer, as well as early access to video and articles, we’re very excited about our Patreon! If you’re not on board yet then check it out here.