Where Did the Term Hooker Come From and How Did the Nickname For Prostitutes Originate?

It’s a myth that the camp followers of Union General Joseph Hooker gave us the popular euphemism for a prostitute.

It’s true they were called “Hooker’s division,” or “Hooker’s reserves,” but the word predates the American Civil War as, of course, does the profession.

It first appeared in 1845 as a reference to an area of New York known as “the Hook,” where ladies of the night could be found in abundance.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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