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Origin of ho1
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noun, plural hos, hoes, ho's.Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
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ABOUT THIS WORD
What does ho mean?
Not to be confused with hoe (the gardening tool), a ho is an offensive term for a sex worker or a promiscuous woman. Some people use the term to insult women in general while some women have reclaimed the term.
What are other forms of ho?
Where does ho come from?
The slang ho comes from a pronunciation of whore in African American Vernacular English, which can drop word-final Rs. It’s been recorded as a term for a “prostitute” since the 1950s.
In the 1960s, ho became vulgar slang for any “woman.” In the 1970s, ho added a verb form, “to prostitute oneself.” It expanded to include sexually promiscuous men in the 1980s. Come the 1990s, ho was also insulting men seen as cowardly and effeminate. As is true of many disparaging slang terms, ho was reclaimed among some speakers as a term of address in the 2000s.
In the 2000s, an unrelated ho emerged as a slang abbreviation for half-ounce, referring to a half-ounce of drugs, typically marijuana.
How is ho used in real life?
Ho is a very insulting term for a sex worker or woman (compare bitch or slut). However, like those latter two words, some women may use ho in a reappropriated, affectionate way among friends (e.g., What’s up, ho?). Here, ho might even imply a sort of sassy, sexy personality and empowered womanhood.
@56kMarc happy birthday ho
— thareal_DDawg🔌🏚 (@gang_broskiDee) September 9, 2018
While ho can deride men, it’s most often used of women. When insulting men, it may be seen as more cute or playful. In hip-hop, ho is sometimes used as a generic term for a woman (e.g., bitches and hoes). We don’t recommend you go around calling just any woman a ho, however.
I'M SO GLAD EVERYONE KNEW WHAT AN EMOTIONAL HO I AM!!
— Aimee…af 🔪❤ (@AimNicRob) September 9, 2018
More examples of ho:
“You’re going to see Cardi B in a whole new light…She’s doing crazy sketches, like she has this thing called ‘Ho Etiquette’ where she does this character where she tells how do women to handle their inner ho and how to do a relationship.”
—Rip Michaels quoted by Kristin McNamara and Leah Bitsky, Page Six, August 2018
Example sentences from the Web for ho
And old Squire said the tender, compassionate little face "ho'ped 'im as much as Miss July did."That Old-Time Child, Roberta|Sophie Fox Sea
When I read out Tooraloo's legacy, the poor fellow wept and ho'hoed after his fashion.The Cruise of the Midge (Vol. II of 2)|Michael Scott
Wun I blow 'pon me ho'n dun you blow 'pon you' ho'n fer answer me; me blow, you blow, dun we bote blow.'Nights With Uncle Remus|Joel Chandler Harris
In fact, he fuddled himself so that when the little gentleman called out 'Ho!Major Vigoureux|A. T. Quiller-Couch
Ho' mer—the greatest of the Greek poets and author of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey."