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Is the term "Whore", either to mean someone who is promiscuous, or someone who is a sex worker, archaic in Australian English?

When I see the word "Whore", I tend to think of Shakespeare (along with the word "Strumpet"). I do, occasionally, hear it in American music, and I've encountered neologisms consisting of something plus whore, such as "Rep whore".

Google NGrams says that "Whore" declined in popularity but has bounced back in American English, and not just because sex workers are being talked about more, but by contrast in British English (the closest thing to Australian English), it hasn't bounced back much. Not that I trust NGrams much for a derogatory, non-standard term like "Whore".

Is "Whore" archaic in Australian English?

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  • Is that really what it means? Your references? – user3169 Sep 14 '14 at 3:38
  • @user3169 en.wiktionary.org/wiki/whore#Noun "(vulgar) A prostitute." and "(vulgar, pejorative) A person who is considered to be sexually promiscuous (see also: slut).". – Andrew Grimm Sep 14 '14 at 3:52
  • Although in "Rep whore' it's more in line with "A person who is unscrupulous, especially one who compromises their principles for gain." – Jim Sep 14 '14 at 5:41
  • FWIW, as an Australian with no great experience of promiscuous women or sex workers, my unsubstantiated guess is that the word is 'rare' rather than 'archaic', and is used to mean a promiscuous woman rather than a sex worker. My second guess is that the word 'ho' is now increasing in use to refer to promiscuous woman, too. Why do you ask? – Sydney Sep 14 '14 at 6:59
  • @SydneyAustraliaESLTeacher an entry I've encountered on Lang-8 used the word "whore". It feels strange to me, but I want to check whether my gut feelings are right or not. – Andrew Grimm Sep 14 '14 at 7:52
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When I see the word "Whore", I tend to think of Shakespeare (along with the word "Strumpet")

Well, the word whore has had much more recent currency than Shakespeare! In the US (and I would think in Australia as well) the word did not start to fall out of use until the mid 1960s, with the rise of feminism. It retained some currency into the present milennium. The decline can be attributed, no doubt, to an enlightened perspective on the sex lives of women generally.

That 'ho' is on the rise (among those under the age of 30) can be attributed to the popularity of "gangsta" rap, whose artist-personae are hardly the enlightened sort. Not quite sure why this degraded morality (e.g. gangsta rap, video games like Grand Theft Auto) is enjoying such popularity. Maybe it's how the young can "play with fire" without getting burnt. They can dabble in the taboo.

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