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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hostesses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This course with the hostesses of Red Gap had seemed to be merely an excuse for a pause.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • But this was not to be without displeasing her hostesses, and she reluctantly submitted.

    Under the Country Sky Grace S. Richmond
  • So once more the Camellia Buds were placed in the position of hostesses.

  • While he was greeting her hostesses Goneril cast a rapid glance at him.

  • 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.

  • The Barkers enjoyed the evening as much as their young host and hostesses.

    Principle and Practice Harriet Martineau
  • This is a talent of which I can see no signs among the hostesses who are so cried up.

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

    Social Life

    Maud C. Cooke
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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