whore


whore
   A woman who might be described in the third person as a prostitute is unlikely to be called ‘you prostitute’ in direct address. ‘You whore’, making use of the rather more old-fashioned term, would be the more likely expression.
   It is used to a woman who has behaved immorally more often than to a woman who has actually practised prostitution, so the vocative could be said to mean something like ‘you loose woman’. In Bernard Thompson’s Love in Quiet Places ‘you whore’ is used by one woman to another. In Free Fall, by William Golding, ‘you bloody whore’ is used insultingly. In Absolute Beginners, by Colin MacInnes, the insult is ‘nigger’s whore’. ‘You filthy black whore’ occurs in Cocksure, by Mordecai Richler.
   ‘You whore’ occurs in Shakespeare, and the word is much used in Othello when Desdemona is suspected of infidelity by her husband. Shakespeare cannot resist punning wordplay, and Desdemona says: ‘I cannot say “whore”;/It does abhor me now I speak the word.’
   The variant spelling ‘hoor’ is used throughout Like Any Other Man, by Patrick Boyle, a novel set in Ireland, mainly in third person reference. Finally a man says to his lover: ‘You poxy hoor, you dosed me.’
   In all the above examples the person addressed was a woman: in The Front Runner, by Patricia Nell Warren, ‘you whore’ is addressed to a homosexual man by another man who is heterosexual. He is answered with ‘you straight pig’.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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