Category Archives: strumpets

On strumpets

Strumpets, Dalrymple notes, are

immoral women of Shakespearean proportion.

A debauched or unchaste woman, a harlot, a prostitute. ‘A vile and abominable strumpet’; ‘A strumpet’s boldness’; ‘He regards nothing but to enjoy his little seraglio of six strumpets’; ‘The most degraded and dangerous strumpets are allowed to congregate round our barracks without hindrance’; ‘This is a disease of childhood, and the only exception to this I have seen was in a very young strumpet.’

‘They know the open whoredom of the Babylonical strumpet’; ‘Out, out, thou strumpet-fortune’; ‘The Kaiser and his parasites have gone a-whoring after Bellona, the deadliest strumpet that ever wrecked the souls and bodies of men’; ‘If thou do not altogether consider Christ’s mind, thou dealest strumpet-like with him.’

Strumpetocracy, jocular, government by harlots. Strumpetier, a whoremonger. ‘In the strumpetocracy of France, he had risen to this post by the most servile attention to Mme de Pompadour’; ‘Zola wants to show in action the morals and manners which developed in the aristocracy of the bourse and the strumpetocracy of Paris’; ‘O that our luxurious strumpetiers could read in their diseased bodies the estate of their leprous souls.’

Of slags, sluts, slappers, slatterns and strumpets

From the Dalrymple Dictionary

Dalrymple points out that the English language

rejoices in a large number of derogatory terms for women.

No one, he says,

who has seen the centre of a British town on a Saturday night could deny the urgent need for terms such as slattern, slut, slag, slapper, and strumpet. As one of my young patients put it (she was 16 at the time), ‘My mother says that I’m a slut, but I’m good at what I do.’ The explanation of this large number of cognate terms to describe less refined members of the second sex is surely that which explains why Eskimo languages have 50 words for snow.

He defines the words thus:

  • Slatterns tend to be fat and to have let themselves go.
  • Sluts will go with anybody.
  • Slags are sluts with whom the ageing process has caught up.
  • Slappers are notable for their vulgarity.
  • Strumpets are immoral women of Shakespearean proportion.