brothel

[broth-uh l, broth-, braw-thuh l, -thuh l]
See more synonyms for brothel on Thesaurus.com

Origin of brothel

1350–1400 for earlier sense; short for brothel-house whore-house; Middle English brothel harlot, orig. worthless person, equivalent to broth- (past participle stem of brethen, Old English brēothan to decay, degenerate) + -el noun suffix
Related formsbroth·el·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for brothel

bordello, whorehouse, cathouse, bagnio

Examples from the Web for brothel

Contemporary Examples of brothel


British Dictionary definitions for brothel

brothel

noun
  1. a house or other place where men pay to have sexual intercourse with prostitutes
  2. Australian informal any untidy or messy place

Word Origin for brothel

C16: short for brothel-house, from C14 brothel useless person, from Old English brēothan to deteriorate; related to briethel worthless
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for brothel
n.

"bawdy house," 1590s, shortened from brothel-house, from brothel "prostitute" (late 15c.), earlier "vile, worthless person" of either sex (14c.), from Old English broðen past participle of breoðan "deteriorate, go to ruin," from Proto-Germanic *breuthanan, variant of *breutanan "to break" (cf. brittle). In 16c. brothel-house was confused with unrelated bordel (see bordello) and the word shifted meaning from a person to a place.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper