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Slut, in modern vernacular, is a slur used to describe a sexual promiscuous individual, usually a woman. In common with pretty much all other words in the English language, its meaning has changed over time. The earliest use of "slut" or "sluttish" (from the Middle Ages) was in the works of Chaucer, to describe a poorly kept man. This quickly shifted from untidy men to untidy women, and since untidy women were generally lower class and thus assumed to be promiscuous, eventually the word shifted meaning to its present form.
Originally, the term was exclusively pejorative, and is still generally used that way which is inherently sexist; if a male were to resort to the same activities that would have women branded sluts, it would be unlikely that the same negative connotations would apply (like with the word "stud"). However, more recently it has seen increasing use as a positive term, which has incidentally resulted in its being applied to men as well (cf. "man-slut", or sometimes just the gender-neutral "slut" to encompass the genderqueer, genderfluid or agendered). There have also been explicit attempts to reappropriate the term as a positive one, as with the SlutWalk movement.
Synonyms of "slut" include:
- 'Whore' (or 'ho' if you be pimpin')
- Sorority pledge