9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[broth-uh l, broth -, braw-thuh l, -th uh l] /ˈbrɒθ əl, ˈbrɒð-, ˈbrɔ θəl, -ðəl/
a house of prostitution.
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 forms
brothellike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brothel
  • The brothel business model is more vulnerable than it looks.
  • The brothel is still operating, and the police have not arrested the main traffickers.
  • Two former city police officers convicted of running a brothel have been ordered to surrender to begin serving prison terms.
  • The naturalists delighted in description of vice and disease, the dramshop, the hospital and the brothel.
  • They call it a church, prosecutors call it a brothel.
  • She worries about the police because she runs a brothel.
  • He offered to fund a brothel on the same basis, and when that was rejected, he resigned.
  • Since the same thing could be said about a brothel, this didn't win over the residents, either.
  • In addition, there are four bars, four pool halls and possible plans for a brothel.
  • Those factors include using the premises for gaming, a brothel, or the sale of controlled substances.
British Dictionary definitions for brothel


a house or other place where men pay to have sexual intercourse with prostitutes
(Austral, informal) any untidy or messy place
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for brothel

"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
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