[ hawr, hohr or, often, hoor ]
/ hɔr, hoʊr or, often, hʊər /


verb (used without object), whored, whor·ing.

verb (used with object), whored, whor·ing.

to put to a base or unworthy use (sometimes followed by out): He’s whoring out his skills by writing for popular magazines.
Obsolete. to make a whore of; corrupt; debauch.

Origin of whore

before 1100; Middle English, Old English hōre; cognate with German Hure, Old Norse hōra; akin to Gothic hors harlot, Latin cārus dear

Word story

As far as etymology goes, whore is unblemished: It’s from Old English hōre, from the Germanic root hō-, extended with a suffixed -r, thus hōr-.
The Germanic root is a regular development of the Proto-Indo-European root kā- “to like, desire” (extended with the same suffixed -r ). Kār- appears in Latin in cārus “dear, beloved, expensive,” and in the noun cāritās “love, affection, high price” (and through Old French, in charity meaning “Christian love”). Kār- appears in the Celtic languages as cara in Irish, and car in Welsh and Breton, all meaning “friend.” In Slavic (Polish), we find kurva.
The unetymological spelling, with initial w- (as also occurs in whole ), became common about 1600.
Nell Gwyn (1650-87), one of King Charles II’s numerous mistresses, made the best comeback ever recorded: When she was surrounded in her coach by a Protestant mob who thought she was Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649–1734), a Catholic woman and another of King Charles’s mistresses, Nell leaned out of her coach and shouted down the mob with “Pray good people be civil, I am the King’s Protestant whore.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for whoring


/ (hɔː) /


a prostitute or promiscuous woman: often a term of abuse

verb (intr)

to be or act as a prostitute
(of a man) to have promiscuous sexual relations, esp with prostitutes
(often foll by after) to seek that which is immoral, idolatrous, etc
Derived Formswhorish, adjectivewhorishly, adverbwhorishness, noun

Word Origin for whore

Old English hōre; related to Old Norse hōra, Old High German hvora, Latin carus dear
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