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Thread: Euphemism for prostitute

  1. #21
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Streetwalker
    Call girl
    Woman of the night
    It's the short words that get you.

  2. #22
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Dutch, another one: straatmadeliefje, street daisy...

  3. #23
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    Re: Washed up name for prostitute

    Quote Originally Posted by rusita preciosa View Post
    Maroseika may disagree with me, but I have absolutely no association between a random contamporary prostitute (and much less a PC term for a prostitute) and hetaera (or the Russian term for it). To me heatera is very specific to high society in ancient Greece.
    I don't mean of course it's used in the colloquial speech, but as a newspaper eiphemism it is encountered.

  4. #24
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    And another one in Greek which is now considered obsolete (it was the norm to name prostitutes like that in late 19th/early 20th c.):
    «Γυνὴ/γυναῖκαι ἐλευθερίων ἠθῶν»
    /ʝi'ni elefθe'rion i'θon/ (fem. nom. sing.) /ʝi'nece elefθe'rion i'θon/ (fem. nom. pl.) lit. "woman/women of free morals"
    Last edited by apmoy70; 21st August 2012 at 3:52 PM.
    Les Grecs sont étonnants dans l'adversité - François Pouqueville

  5. #25
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Speaking of obsolete terms,
    On the Atlantic coast of New Jersey there is a small Victorian resort town of Cape May. Like any resort town of that time it had a "red light" district, and apparently girls who worked it, were called saucy women.

    The reason I'm giving this detail is that I'm not sure if that was a regionalism or an overall AE term of the time (e.g. would the same term have been used, say, in San Francisco?).

  6. #26
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    In French, there are a lot of synonyms/euphemisms for prostitute:
    - femme de petite vertue (lit.:woman of light virtue)
    - femme de mauvaise vie (lit. woman of bad life)
    - femme publique (lit. public woman)
    - old: péripatéticienne, courtisane, ribaude
    - poetic : marchande d'amour (tradeswoman of love)
    - crude: putain, pute, marie-couche-toi-là, trainée, poule, câtin, ...

  7. #27
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Actually, the usual word for "prostitute" in French is "fille". You can tell from the context whether it means "daughter" or "prostitute". If you want to say "girl" you should say "jeune fille", which bad translators render as "young girl".

  8. #28
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Quote Originally Posted by xmarabout View Post
    In French, there are a lot of synonyms/euphemisms for prostitute:
    ...
    - old: péripatéticienne...
    It's really-really interesting that you used the Greek word for the prostitute who solicits by street-walking (péripatéticienne) instead of the Latin circulatrix (which described the same concept).

    A few more in Ancient Greek:

    A) «Κασσαλβάς» kăssāl'bās (fem.) and «κάσσα» 'kāssă (fem.) from the masculine nouns «κασ(σ)ᾶς» kā's(s)ās and «κάσσος» 'kāssŏs --> a carpet or skin, felt, used particularly as a covering for a horse, a saddle to sit upon with obscure etymology (probably a Semitic or Persian loan). The Latin "scortum" which was the common name of whore for the Romans, is probably a calque of the Greek name(s) (and derives from the neut. noun "scortum" --> the skin of an animal, metaph. the female pudenda).
    B) «Χαμαιτύπη» xămæ'tūpē (fem.) a compound word: Adv. «χαμαὶ» xā'mæ --> on the earth, on the ground + verb «τύπτω» 'tūptō --> beat, strike, smite; according to Suidas Lexicon, «χαμαιτύπη» derives «ἀπὸ τοῦ χαμαὶ κειμένην ὀχεύεσθαι» (she copulates while lying on the ground).
    Les Grecs sont étonnants dans l'adversité - François Pouqueville

  9. #29
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Quote Originally Posted by apmoy70 View Post
    A few more in Ancient Greek:

    A) «Κασσαλβάς» kăssāl'bās (fem.) and «κάσσα» 'kāssă (fem.) from the masculine nouns «κασ(σ)ᾶς» kā's(s)ās and «κάσσος» 'kāssŏs --> a carpet or skin, felt, used particularly as a covering for a horse, a saddle to sit upon with obscure etymology (probably a Semitic or Persian loan). The Latin "scortum" which was the common name of whore for the Romans, is probably a calque of the Greek name(s) (and derives from the neut. noun "scortum" --> the skin of an animal, metaph. the female pudenda).
    B) «Χαμαιτύπη» xămæ'tūpē (fem.) a compound word: Adv. «χαμαὶ» xā'mæ --> on the earth, on the ground + verb «τύπτω» 'tūptō --> beat, strike, smite; according to Suidas Lexicon, «χαμαιτύπη» derives «ἀπὸ τοῦ χαμαὶ κειμένην ὀχεύεσθαι» (she copulates while lying on the ground).
    Going back to ancient languages, Classical Arabic had also 2 euphemisms:
    -ذوات الأعلام dhawaat al-a3laam: Those of the flags. Since brothels actually had flags over them.
    -قحبة qa7ba, literally "cougher (f). Since prostitutes would signal men passing-by by coughing or "ahem"ing.
    The latter has become really offensive in modern Arabic, since the older meaning of the root is no longer used. Even the non-euphemistic terms in Classical Arabic have now become more neutral!


  10. #30
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    Re: Washed up name for prostitute

    Quote Originally Posted by rusita preciosa View Post
    In AE I hear "street walker", "escort girl"; the "official" term is "sex worker".
    In American English there is a whole range of euphemisms -- in addition to those above, you may hear "escort" (without "girl" - i don't know if I've ever heard that variant), "call girl", "lady of the night", "working girl", plus some others more insulting. Different ones are more appropriate in different contexts.

    The term "sex worker" is currently the most "politically correct", and also the most academic -- often used by those who are striving for neutrality in their use of the term, in the face of arguments on one side that prostitution is exploitative and demeaning, and, on the other side, that prostitution is a legitimate and potentially even empowering choice for generating income that should not be overlaid with terms that imply any moral judgement. In that contect, "sex worker" (possibly also by virtue of being a comparatively new term) seems the least "loaded' of the terms, the closest to being merely descriptive. Moreover, it is not gendered, unlike some of the other terms mentioned, which specifically refer to women.

    Having said all that, and going back to the context of tFighterPilot's original question. it is not the dominant term in the media. In the US, in a newspaper story, you're more likely to hear "prostitute", "escort", or "call girl". And "prostitute" tends to refer to sex workers who pick up clients on street corners, whereas "escort" and "call girl" almost always refer to sex workers whose services are arranged in advance.

    "Lady of the night" and "working girl" are much more "polite" terms, the kind of thing your grandmother, or someone trying to be especially delicate, might say.

  11. #31
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    Re: Euphemism for prostitute

    Quote Originally Posted by xmarabout View Post
    - old: péripatéticienne,
    I wonder what would think of it disciples of Aristotle...

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