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A neighborhood containing many brothels and often other businesses related to sexual gratification, such as sex shops and peepshows.
[Perhaps from the red lanterns or lights said to have been placed in the windows of American brothels in the 1800s.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
an area or district in a city in which many houses of prostitution are located.
[1890–95; allegedly so called because brothels displayed red lights]
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