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).
Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho.
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.
Those offering services to female customers are commonly known as gigolos; those offering services to male customers are hustlers or rent boys.
Organizers of prostitution may be known as pimps (if male) and madams or Mama-san (if female).
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.
In Germany, however, most prostitutes' organizations deliberately use the word Hure (whore) since they feel that prostitute is a bureaucratic term.
Those seeking to remove the social stigma associated with prostitution often promote terminology such as sex worker, commercial sex worker (CSW), tantric engineer (coined by author Robert Anton Wilson), or sex trade worker.
More formally, one who is said to practice procuring is a procurer, or procuress.