- a person given or held as security for the fulfillment of certain conditions or terms, promises, etc., by another.
- Archaic. a security or pledge.
- Obsolete. the condition of a hostage.
- to give (someone) as a hostage: He was hostaged to the Indians.
Origin of hostage
Related Words for hostageprisoner, captive, victim, scapegoat, pledge, pawn, earnest, token, security, surety, guaranty
Examples from the Web for hostage
Contemporary Examples of hostage
They took cover inside a print works to the north east of Paris, where they held a member of staff as a hostage.France Kills Charlie Hebdo Murderers
January 9, 2015
Two hostages are dead and 15 others free after an Islamic radical took them hostage before police killed him.Jihadi Siege in Sydney Ends in Gunfight
Courtney Subramanian, Lennox Samuels, Chris Allbritton
December 15, 2014
ISIS continues to hold one more American hostage, a 26-year-old female aid worker.
One hostage died en route, the Journal reported, while the other died on the operating table.
There was a man who said his boyfriend was holding him hostage with a gun.Sex, Suicide, and Homework: The Secret World of the Telephone Hotline
November 20, 2014
Historical Examples of hostage
He has, for this reason, resolved to detain you in it, as a hostage for them.Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Complete
Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre
And then he had given a hostage to fortune, or his father had for him.The Christian
For even if Bishop yielded to their demand, they would retain her as a hostage.Captain Blood
With even that hope to get even with him, I will not kill you, yet I must have that money or a hostage.Buffalo Bill's Spy Trailer
Colonel Prentiss Ingraham
If the Prince is a hostage for your safety, then he must be sacrificed.The Destroyer
Burton Egbert Stevenson
- a person given to or held by a person, organization, etc, as a security or pledge or for ransom, release, exchange for prisoners, etc
- the state of being held as a hostage
- any security or pledge
- give hostages to fortune to place oneself in a position in which misfortune may strike through the loss of what one values most
Word Origin for hostage
late 13c., from Old French hostage "person given as security or hostage" (12c., Modern French ôtage), either from hoste "guest" (see host (n.1)) via notion of "a lodger held by a landlord as security," or from Late Latin obsidanus "condition of being held as security," from obses "hostage," from ob- "before" + base of sedere "to sit" [OED]. Modern political/terrorism sense is from 1970.