an institution in which sick or injured persons are given medical or surgical treatment.
a similar establishment for the care of animals.
a repair shop for specific portable objects: violin hospital; doll hospital.
British. an institution supported by charity or taxes for the care of the needy, as an orphanage or old people's home.

Origin of hospital

1250–1300; Middle English hospitale < Medieval Latin, noun use of neuter of Latin hospitālis hospitable, equivalent to hospit- (see hospitium) + -ālis -al1
Related formsmin·i·hos·pi·tal, nounmul·ti·hos·pi·tal, adjectivepost·hos·pi·tal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hospital

Contemporary Examples of hospital

Historical Examples of hospital

  • They looked from the windows of the hospital, and from the roofs of houses.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • If only the house was her own, that she might turn it into a hospital!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • She could not bring herself at first to tell him about the hospital.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Closer to her than the hospital was life in the raw that night.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He had seen her before in the hospital, but he had never really noticed how attractive she was.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for hospital



an institution for the medical, surgical, obstetric, or psychiatric care and treatment of patients
(modifier) having the function of a hospitala hospital ship
a repair shop for something specifieda dolls' hospital
archaic a charitable home, hospice, or school

Word Origin for hospital

C13: from Medieval Latin hospitāle hospice, from Latin hospitālis relating to a guest, from hospes, hospit- 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 hospital

mid-13c., "shelter for the needy," from Old French hospital, ospital "hostel" (Modern French hôpital), from Late Latin hospitale "guest-house, inn," neuter of Latin adjective hospitalis "of a guest or host," from hospes (genitive hospitis); see host (n.1). Later "charitable institution to house and maintain the needy" (early 15c.); sense of "institution for sick people" is first recorded 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hospital in Medicine




An institution that provides medical, surgical, or psychiatric care and treatment for the sick or the injured.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.