I'm not certain that I'm phrasing my question correctly, but I couldn't think of a better way to word it. What I'm asking is for a word that truly defines to mean a person who solicits prostitutes. I've heard of the slang word "john", but that's not a satisfying answer to me. "Whore" and "prostitute" unambiguously mean a person, connotatively female, who trades sexual favors for money, with whore being more derogatory and prostitute more meaning the actual profession. "John" doesn't quite do this, it's meaning isn't so clearly explicit in the word.

So, is there a word that does this? As a secondary question, if there is not a word in English, is there one in another language?

An example of how this word would be used: We can't keep the blanks away from the new escort service that opened downtown.

  • A whore is a woman who sleeps around, not necessarily for money. A prostitute sleeps with people to pay rent.
    – Ricky
    Oct 20, 2015 at 7:10
  • Please note "solicit" has the exact opposite sense to what is needed here. A "prostitute" solicits, a "prospective customer" doesn't -- perhaps enquires, rather.
    – Kris
    Oct 20, 2015 at 7:31
  • 3
    "Epistemological" and "truly defines" are not clear. It seems from those qualifications you're looking for a neutral term, not judgmental and not derogatory, for a male customer who pays an adult female to engage in some sex act with him. But your example seems more colloquial, and would admit a slang term. Which is it?
    – TimR
    Oct 20, 2015 at 12:54
  • 1
    prostitution and epistemology is like garbage in a math treatise.
    – Lambie
    May 27, 2020 at 23:54
  • Wikipedia has a section on nomenclature for clients.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 25, 2022 at 12:03

6 Answers 6


In the US and Britain, the crime of offering to pay for sex is called solicitation, which is always illegal in the US and illegal in public in Britain. The term solicitor, however, was already taken. [Insert your own prostitution joke here] Traditionally, no matter what the law said, authorities penalized the seller and ignored the buyer. Where the law has reversed that (e.g., Sweden), the shaming term of art is sex buyer. Where the law has butted out (e.g., Holland), the more neutral term is client. Anglophone prostitutes (which isn't as seamy as it sounds) call their customers, johns, tricks, or scores.

  • Also punter in the UK (similar status to "john" or "trick" in US).
    – Stuart F
    Jul 25, 2022 at 12:03

Whoremonger, defined by Merriam-Webster as 'whoremaster,' which it in turn defines as

a man consorting with whores or given to lechery

Whoremonger, Whoremaster

This is, by definition the word you are looking for.

  • 1
    You need to put the definition in the answer, not merely assert that your link is definitive.
    – Robusto
    May 28, 2020 at 3:57
  • A "monger" is a "trader, dealer or seller". I'd interpret both of these as a pimp rather than a client. May 8 at 17:09

I can't seem to think of a word in English, but the French term for a hooker's client is micheton.

Blanche has been driven around by cabbies who claim to be gentlemen temporarily down on their luck, and spent high-paid nights with michetons who boast that they began as coal miners. Miami Herald


Patron might be a good candidate as it means:

A regular customer, as of a certain store or restaurant. [Wiktionary]

Its verb form "patronize" means:

To go to as a customer, especially on a regular basis [The Free Dictionary]

It is broadly used in the media and the law to mean the opposite of solicit:

The following in NY Times shows its usage:

Without sex buyers, there wouldn’t be sex trafficking. Currently, however, buyers are not being prosecuted under federal law. Representatives Ted Poe and Carolyn Maloney and others have introduced an important bill that would remedy this by expanding the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to penalize those who solicit or patronize sex trafficking victims.

Solicit means:

To offer to perform sexual activity, especially when for a payment. [Wiktionary]


The terms "Monger" and "Hobbyist" are in current use in online sex sites

  • 5
    Can you find another reference for this? For the people who don't want to visit a "sex site" :/
    – Laurel
    May 28, 2020 at 0:13

Sex Client would be the usual description of that person.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your answer would benefit from some supporting references and explanations as to why you would choose that term.
    – Bread
    Mar 13, 2018 at 3:40

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