[hahr-luh t]


a prostitute; whore.

Origin of harlot

1175–1225; Middle English: young idler, rogue < Old French herlot, of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for harlot

Contemporary Examples of harlot

Historical Examples of harlot

  • Is he not attired as becometh the bridegroom of the harlot of Rome?

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Would that harlot know, would she suspect that 'twas your hand did this?

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Ukhatu is a name for a harlot devoted to the worship of Ishtar.

  • A harlot's daughter you are, my dear; you must be a harlot too if you want to become anything at all.

    The Nabob

    Alphonse Daudet

British Dictionary definitions for harlot



a prostitute or promiscuous woman


archaic of or like a harlot
Derived Formsharlotry, noun

Word Origin for harlot

C13: from Old French herlot rascal, of obscure origin
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 harlot

c.1200 (late 12c. in surnames), "vagabond, man of no fixed occupation, idle rogue," from Old French herlot, arlot "vagabond, tramp" (usually male in Middle English and Old French), with forms in Old Provençal (arlot), Old Spanish (arlote), and Italian (arlotto); of unknown origin. Used in both positive and pejorative senses by Chaucer; applied in Middle English to jesters, buffoons, jugglers, later to actors. Sense of "prostitute, unchaste woman" probably had developed by 14c., certainly by early 15c., but this was reinforced by use as euphemism for "strumpet, whore" in 16c. translations of the Bible. The word may be Germanic, with an original sense of "camp follower," if the first element is hari "army," as some suspect.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper