Another explanation is that prostituta is a composition of pro and statuere (to cause to stand, to station, place erect).
A literal translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place forward".
Clients of prostitutes are sometimes known as johns or tricks in North America and punters in the British Isles.
These slang terms are used among both prostitutes and law enforcement for persons who solicit prostitutes.
Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho.
In Germany, however, most prostitutes' organizations deliberately use the word Hure (whore) since they feel that prostitute is a bureaucratic term.
The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country (sometimes from region to region within a given country), ranging from being permissible but unregulated, to an enforced or unenforced crime, or a regulated profession.
In some places, men who drive around red-light districts for the purpose of soliciting prostitutes are also known as kerb crawlers. The prostitution metaphor, "traditionally used to signify political inconstancy, unreliability, fickleness, a lack of firm values and integrity, and venality, has long been a staple of Russian political rhetoric." In 1938, he used the same description for the Comintern, saying that the chief aim of the Bonapartist clique of Stalin during the preceding several years "has consisted in proving to the imperialist 'democracies' its wise conservatism and love for order.
Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes.
The English word whore derives from the Old English word hōra, from the Proto-Germanic *hōrōn (prostitute), which derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *keh₂- meaning "desire", a root which has also given us Latin cārus (dear), whence the French cher (dear, expensive) and the Latin cāritās (love, charity).
Prostitution is sometimes described as commercial sex or hooking.
Depending on the jurisdiction, prostitution law may deem commercial sex to be legal or illegal.