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).
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.
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.
However, sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sexual nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes.
There are about 42 million prostitutes in the world, living all over the world (though most of Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa lacks data, studied countries in that large region rank as top sex tourism destinations).
In the Code of Hammurabi, provisions were found that addressed inheritance rights of women, including female prostitutes.
According to Zohar and the Alphabet of Ben Sira, there were four angels of sacred prostitution, who mated with archangel Samael.
Those seeking to remove the social stigma associated with prostitution often promote terminology such as sex worker, commercial sex worker (CSW) or sex trade worker.
Another commonly used word for a prostitute is hooker.