Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More


I was taught by my English Lit professor, whilst studying Chaucer and Shakespeare that the old definition of the word “punk” was “Prostitute”. Is this true? The only references I can find will only give me stuff related to The Sex Pistols & co. Any help? Thanks!

Submit Your Comment



Sort by  OldestLatestRating

AC February 1, 2005, 6:51pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

The word occurs 4 times in 3 plays (see and does evidently mean prostitute.

chertiozhnik February 19, 2005, 4:00pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

According to Merriam-Webster it is true:

this is what it says:

Main Entry: 1punk
Pronunciation: 'p&[ng]k
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
1 archaic : PROSTITUTE
2 [probably partly from 3punk] : NONSENSE, FOOLISHNESS
3 a : a young inexperienced person : BEGINNER, NOVICE; especially : a young man b : a usually petty gangster, hoodlum, or ruffian c : a youth used as a homosexual partner
4 a : PUNK ROCK b : a punk rock musician c : one who affects punk styles

AC January 23, 2005, 10:23pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes     No