orphan_ann (orphan_ann) wrote in little_details,
orphan_ann
orphan_ann
little_details

Edwardian English euphemism for “prostitute”

Time: April 1908
Place: India, either Simla or Darjeeling, if it matters

Two British army officers – one a captain, one a colonel – are discussing a female character and the colonel asks what she does for a living. She’s a prostitute, but the captain’s not going to use that word.

So my question is: What would he say instead? My placeholder is “lady of the night”; would that be OK? I want something as refined as possible, I’m fairly sure that “fallen woman” would be fine, but for story-related reasons don’t want to use it; if it matters, the captain is Northern Irish. I know this is only a little detail, but it’s bugging me.

I’ve tried Googling “Edwardian” and “Victorian” combined with “euphemism”, “prostitute”, “sex”, “English”, “speech”, and “lady of the night”, and Wikipedia. I’ve also looked through the library for dictionaries of words and slang, those “Classics” editions of books that explain details like this at the end, the tags here, and VictorianLondon.org.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

(Edit: I've got a few great answers to choose from now. Thanks for your help, everyone!)
Tags: india: history
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