Brothel

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).

mag cover This article is from the March 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
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