Most sex worker activists groups reject the word prostitute and since the late 1970s have used the term sex worker instead.
However, sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sexual nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes.
A variety of terms are used for those who engage in prostitution, some of which distinguish between different types of prostitution or imply a value judgment about them.
Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes.
A streetwalker solicits customers on the streets or in public places, while a call girl makes appointments by phone, or in recent years, through email or the internet.
Correctly or not, use of the word prostitute without specifying a sex may commonly be assumed to be female; compound terms such as male prostitution or male escort are therefore often used to identify males.
It is sometimes referred to euphemistically as "the world's oldest profession" in the English-speaking world. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution.
In escort prostitution, the act may take place at the client's residence or hotel room (referred to as out-call), or at the escort's residence or a hotel room rented for the occasion by the escort (in-call). Although the majority of prostitutes are female and have male clients, a prostitute can be, and have clients, of any gender or sexual orientation.
The term john may have originated from the frequent customer practice of giving one's name as "John", a common name in English-speaking countries, in an effort to maintain anonymity. is not literally a prostitute; Holden feels that his job writing B-movie screenplays is morally debasing.
A literal translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place forward".
The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one 'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered.'" The word prostitute was then carried down through various languages to the present-day Western society.
Depending on the jurisdiction, prostitution law may deem commercial sex to be legal or illegal.
A person who works in this field is called a prostitute, and is a type of sex worker.