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  1. a person who spends some time at another person's home in some social activity, as a visit, dinner, or party.
  2. a person who receives the hospitality of a club, a city, or the like.
  3. a person who patronizes a hotel, restaurant, etc., for the lodging, food, or entertainment it provides.
  4. an often well-known person invited to participate or perform in a regular program, series, etc., as a substitute for a regular member or as a special attraction.
  5. Zoology. an inquiline.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to entertain as a guest.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be a guest; make an appearance as a guest: She's been guesting on all the TV talk shows.
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  1. provided for or done by a guest: a guest towel; a guest column for a newspaper.
  2. participating or performing as a guest: a guest conductor.
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Origin of guest

before 900; Middle English gest < Old Norse gestr; replacing Old English gi(e)st; cognate with German Gast, Gothic gasts, Latin hostis; cf. host1, host2
Related formsguest·less, adjective
Can be confusedguessed guest

Synonyms for guest

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1. company. See visitor.


  1. Edgar A(lbert),1881–1959, U.S. journalist and writer of verse, born in England.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for guest

customer, patron, visitor, caller, companion, inmate, client, recipient, tenant, vacationer, lodger, transient, boarder, frequenter, mate, renter, visitant, company, roomer, ephemera

Examples from the Web for guest

Contemporary Examples of guest

Historical Examples of guest

British Dictionary definitions for guest


  1. a person who is entertained, taken out to eat, etc, and paid for by another
    1. a person who receives hospitality at the home of anothera weekend guest
    2. (as modifier)the guest room
    1. a person who receives the hospitality of a government, establishment, or organization
    2. (as modifier)a guest speaker
    1. an actor, contestant, entertainer, etc, taking part as a visitor in a programme in which there are also regular participants
    2. (as modifier)a guest appearance
  2. a patron of a hotel, boarding house, restaurant, etc
  3. zoology a nontechnical name for inquiline
  4. be my guest informal do as you like
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  1. (intr) (in theatre and broadcasting) to be a guestto guest on a show
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Word Origin for guest

Old English giest guest, stranger, enemy; related to Old Norse gestr, Gothic gasts, Old High German gast, Old Slavonic gostǐ, Latin hostis enemy
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

Word Origin and History for guest


Old English gæst, giest (Anglian gest) "guest; enemy; stranger," the common notion being "stranger," from Proto-Germanic *gastiz (cf. Old Frisian jest, Dutch gast, German Gast, Gothic gasts "guest," originally "stranger"), from PIE root *ghosti- "strange" (cf. Latin hostis "enemy," hospes "host" -- from *hosti-potis "host, guest," originally "lord of strangers" -- Greek xenos "guest, host, stranger;" Old Church Slavonic gosti "guest, friend," gospodi "lord, master").

Spelling evolution influenced by Old Norse cognate gestr (the usual sound changes from the Old English word would have yielded Modern English *yest). Phrase be my guest in the sense of "go right ahead" first recorded 1955.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with guest


see be my guest.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.