a house of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers, etc., especially one kept by a religious order.
  1. a health-care facility for the terminally ill that emphasizes pain control and emotional support for the patient and family, typically refraining from taking extraordinary measures to prolong life.
  2. a similar program of care and support for the terminally ill at home.

Origin of hospice

1810–20; < French < Latin hospitium hospitium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hospice

Contemporary Examples of hospice

Historical Examples of hospice

  • M. Julien, will you run for the doctor, and send him down to the Hospice at once?

  • I found him at the hospice, busy with his œuvre de bienfaisance.

    Behind the Beyond

    Stephen Leacock

  • He, himself, was billeted with a French family, just around the corner from the Hospice.

    Life in a Tank

    Richard Haigh

  • The hospice had formerly been a palstra or wrestling-ground.

    The Death of the Gods

    Dmitri Mrejkowski

  • In June, 1861, her simple funeral passed from the gates of the Hospice.

British Dictionary definitions for hospice


noun plural hospices

a nursing home that specializes in caring for the terminally ill
Also called: hospitium (hɒˈspɪtɪəm) plural hospitia (hɒˈspɪtɪə) archaic a place of shelter for travellers, esp one kept by a monastic order

Word Origin for hospice

C19: from French, from Latin hospitium hospitality, from hospes guest, host 1
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 hospice

1818, "rest house for travelers," from French hospice (13c.), from Latin hospitium "guest house, hospitality," from hospes (genitive hospitis) "guest, host" (see host (n.1)). Sense of "home for the aged and terminally ill " is from 1893; hospice movement first attested 1979.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hospice




A program or facility that provides palliative care and attends to the emotional, spiritual, social, and financial needs of terminally ill patients at a facility or at a patient's home.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.