Synonyms for Prostitute

While there are terms in English to refer to a promiscuous man, such as Casanova, Don Juan, himbo, lady’s man, Lothario, and rake, there aren’t many. And, curiously, few of them have a pejorative air.

From a feminist perspective, it is arguable that men have largely been interested in controlling female sexuality, and our language reflects this in its paucity of terms for a “loose man.” Although fanciful at times, the verbal duel between two prostitutes in John Barth’s The Sot-Weed Factor makes this matter clear. Let’s take a look, in media res:

“The truth is,” said the dealer, “Grace here’s a hooker.”

“A what?” asked the poet.

“A hooker,” the woman repeated with a wink. “A quail, don’t ye know.”

“A quail!” the woman named Grace shrieked. “You call me a quail, you, you gaullefretierer

“Whore!” shouted the first.

“Bas-cul!” retorted the other.

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