[ hos-tij ]
/ ˈhɒs tɪdʒ /


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.

verb (used with object), hos·taged, hos·tag·ing.

to give (someone) as a hostage: He was hostaged to the Indians.

Nearby words

  1. hoss,
  2. host,
  3. host computer,
  4. host-specific,
  5. hosta,
  6. hostel,
  7. hostel school,
  8. hosteler,
  9. hosteller,
  10. hostelling

Origin of hostage

1225–75; Middle English < Old French hostage (h- by association with (h)oste host2), ostageVulgar Latin *obsidāticum state of being a hostage < Latin obsid- (stem of obses) hostage (equivalent to ob- ob- + sid- sit1) + -āticum -age

Related formshos·tage·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hostage

British Dictionary definitions for hostage


/ (ˈhɒstɪdʒ) /


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

C13: from Old French, from hoste 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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper