Woman of easy virtue

Dear friends!!!

In the following a number of words meaning almost the same are listed: prostitute, whore, streetwalker, game, fancy woman, call girl, loose woman, slag, broad, harlot. I would like to know several things about all these words:

1) Which ones have now become old-fashioned and are no longer used throughout English-speaking countries?
2) Which words are slangish and used mainly among teenagers and in "private" (one-to-one) conversations where the people talking are not heard by anyone else (ˆif they are heard they will be thought of as being uneducated and vulgar)
3) Which words can be heard in public and be encountered in mass media
4) What word(s) does each of you find the most acceptable?

Thanks!!!
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Let's begin with your question 4), which I find to be less than useful. Any word may be acceptable in the proper context. Many of these words are insulting. Still, if insult is intended, they may be acceptable. Enough of my mini-rant about questions I find less than useful...

    Old-fashioned: streetwalker, fancy woman, slag, harlot. I have never seen game used to refer to a woman. Loose woman sounds like something a 19th century preacher would say. Perhaps some preachers still use the term. I wouldn't know. Broad has not been in widespread use since the 1950s. That leave prostitute, whore, call girl as current terms.

    2. None is especially slangish or limited to teenagers.
    3. Used in public and in the mass media? prostitute, call girl.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Let's begin with your question 4), which I find to be less than useful. Any word may be acceptable in the proper context. Many of these words are insulting. Still, if insult is intended, they may be acceptable. Enough of my mini-rant about questions I find less than useful...

    Old-fashioned: streetwalker, fancy woman, slag, harlot. I have never seen game used to refer to a woman. Loose woman sounds like something a 19th century preacher would say. Perhaps some preachers still use the term. I wouldn't know. Broad has not been in widespread use since the 1950s. That leave prostitute, whore, call girl as current terms.

    2. None is especially slangish or limited to teenagers.
    3. Used in public and in the mass media? prostitute, call girl.
    I agree with the above.

    I would add that - although I've never heard of "game" as a name meaning a prostitute, in the UK we have the phrase "to be on the game" which means to be prostituting yourself.
     
    Thanks!!! How about the word used in the thread title, namely, "woman of easy virtue"? I decided to entitle this thread this way because if literally translated into Russian, the word seems to be the most "neutral", containing the least amount of abuse. Probably, it is not so in English.

    Thanks!!!
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I still hear the word "broad" in common conversation, but I have never understood it to mean "a prostitute". As I know the word, it is an unflattering or dismissive term for a woman generally, and may be used by either a male or female speaker:

    I can never get any sleep at night because the crazy broad who lives downstairs always has her television going at top volume.

    That Johnson broad is always trying to cause trouble in my office.

    I had all the merchandise perfectly arranged and then some stupid fat broad walked right into the display.

    I have never heard "game" being used to refer to a woman, nor am I at all familiar with the word "slag".

    I find "fancy woman" and "loose woman" to be very old-fashioned, while "harlot" has a Biblical sound to it.

    Streetwalkers (a word that I also still find in use) and call girls are both types of prostitutes, but the specific definitions are mutually exclusive: a streetwalker finds her customers as she walks the streets, while a call girl arranges her business transactions in advance by telephone.
     
    I still hear the word "broad" in common conversation, but I have never understood it to mean "a prostitute". As I know the word, it is an unflattering or dismissive term for a woman generally, and may be used by either a male or female speaker:

    I can never get any sleep at night because the crazy broad who lives downstairs always has her television going at top volume.

    That Johnson broad is always trying to cause trouble in my office.

    I had all the merchandise perfectly arranged and then some stupid fat broad walked right into the display.
    :):):) I must acknowledge that I sometimes say similar things in my native language!!! :):):) Of course, only as a joke - I try to never mean to insult anyone - hope I succeed!!!


    I find "fancy woman" and "loose woman" to be very old-fashioned, while "harlot" has a Biblical sound to it.
    Why Biblical?
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I pretty much agree with all that's already been said but I would add: (in reply to post #2) that the term slag is extremely alive-and-well-and-kicking in my neck of the woods (northwest England) ... but, like broad, it doesn't necessarily mean 'prostitute', instead it just means 'young woman who acts like a prostitute'; and the term broad is exclusively AE ~ I don't believe I've ever heard a Briton use it, unless he was impersonating an American.

    Also: for me harlot is 'Biblical up to about 14th century' ~ it's the kind of term Old Testament prophets (or later folk who aspired to that kind of position) would have used.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Dmitry

    Your question is so broad that I'm going to limit myself to answering only a couple of aspects of it...:)

    The only one I'd think of as 'teenager-speak' is "slag".

    I'm not sure what you mean by "acceptable". But if you mean "relatively (NB) free of value judgements", then the only ones I'd put into that category are prostitute, streetwalker and call-girl.
     
    Hi Dmitry

    Your question is so broad that I'm going to limit myself to answering only a couple of aspects of it...:)

    The only one I'd think of as 'teenager-speak' is "slag".

    I'm not sure what you mean by "acceptable". But if you mean "relatively (NB) free of value judgements", then the only ones I'd put into that category are prostitute, streetwalker and call-girl.
    Thanks!!! Yes, saying "acceptable" I meant just what you have deduced. Loob, how about "woman of easy virtue"? What is Biblical about "harlot"?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ♥♥ I've been using that term since I was about 15, Mrs.L. Yes, since 2007.
    Others before me have suggested that you are an eternal teenager, Евгений.
    Thanks!!! Yes, saying "acceptable" I meant just what you have deduced. Loob, how about "woman of easy virtue"? What is Biblical about "harlot"?
    "Woman of easy virtue" sounds pretty antiquated to me, Dmitry. And young ewie has already answered your question about the Biblical overtones of "harlot"...:)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes, woman of easy virtue is a term that Victorian gentle-folk might have used for the 'ladies' they 'rescued' from their 'sinful lives'.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Why Biblical?
    It is a term that appears numerous times in the 1611 "Authorized" or "King James" translation of the Bible. For example, you may read of Rahab the harlot in the Book of Joshua (beginning in chapter 2). The prophet Jeremiah frequently compares Israel's worship of other gods to infidelity, as in Jeremiah2:20 where we read
    For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
    The elder brother of the Prodigal Son complains to his father in Luke 15:30
    But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
    And there is also the well-known statement of Christ to the Pharisees in Matthew 21:31
    Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
     
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