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90s Slang You Should Know


[hoh-stis] /ˈhoʊ stɪs/
a woman who receives and entertains guests in her own home or elsewhere.
a woman employed in a restaurant or place of amusement to receive, seat, or assist patrons.
a woman who acts as master of ceremonies, moderator, or interviewer for a television or radio program; host.
a woman employed by an airline, railroad, bus company, etc., to see that passengers are comfortable throughout a trip, usually receiving and seating them, and sometimes serving them refreshments.
a woman who manages a resort or hotel or who directs its social activities.
verb (used with object)
to be the hostess at (a reception, dinner, etc.):
She will hostess a shower for the new bride.
to act as hostess at, to, or for:
She volunteered to hostess the garden club next season.
verb (used without object)
to perform the duties or functions of a hostess.
Origin of hostess
1250-1300; Middle English (h)ostesse < Old French. See host1, -ess
Related forms
hostess-ship, noun
Usage note
See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hostesses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She could not have explained why, but no one was likely to ask her for an explanation, and most hostesses envied her.

  • Dr. Ballard had gone, and his hostesses were awaiting the summons to dinner.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • Molly and Hester were to be the two hostesses for the occasion.

  • So once more the Camellia Buds were placed in the position of hostesses.

  • A good many women have called on me out of politeness to my hostesses.

  • Some hostesses provide small doilies with which to hold the ear.

    Social Life Maud C. Cooke
  • This is a talent of which I can see no signs among the hostesses who are so cried up.

    Mauprat George Sand
  • From time to time send to any of your hostesses of the winter something from your preserves.

    The Complete Bachelor Walter Germain
  • American hostesses are certainly sometimes very odd in this connection.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for hostesses


a woman acting as host
a woman who receives and entertains patrons of a club, restaurant, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hostesses



late 13c., "woman who keeps an inn or public hotel," from host (n.1) + -ess, or from Old French hostesse (Modern French hôtesse). Meaning "woman who presides at a dinner party, etc." recorded by 1822. Also used mid-20c. in sense "female who entertains customers in nightclubs," with overtones of prostitution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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