[ hos-tl ]
/ ˈhɒs tl /


Also called youth hostel. an inexpensive, supervised lodging place for young people on bicycle trips, hikes, etc.
British. a residence hall at a university.
an inn.

verb (used without object), hos·teled, hos·tel·ing or (especially British) hos·telled, hos·tel·ling.

to travel, lodging each night at a hostel.

Origin of hostel

1200–50; Middle English (h)ostel < Old French < Late Latin hospitāle guest room. See hospital
Can be confusedhostel hostile (see synonym study at hostile)hostel hotel motel (see synonym study at hotel) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hostelling (1 of 2)


US hosteling

/ (ˈhɒstəlɪŋ) /


the practice of staying at youth hostels when travelling

British Dictionary definitions for hostelling (2 of 2)


/ (ˈhɒstəl) /


a building providing overnight accommodation, as for the homeless, etc
British a supervised lodging house for nurses, workers, etc
archaic another word for hostelry

Word Origin for hostel

C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin hospitāle hospice; see hospital
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 hostelling



early 13c., from Old French hostel "inn, lodgings, shelter" (11c., Modern French hôtel), from Medieval Latin hospitale "inn, large house" (see hospital). Obsolete after 16c., revived 1808, along with hostelry (Middle English hostelrie) by Sir Walter Scott. The sense in youth hostel is recorded by 1931.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper