- 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
- 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.