See more synonyms for hostess on
  1. a woman who receives and entertains guests in her own home or elsewhere.
  2. a woman employed in a restaurant or place of amusement to receive, seat, or assist patrons.
  3. a woman who acts as master of ceremonies, moderator, or interviewer for a television or radio program; host.
  4. a woman employed by an airline, railroad, bus company, etc., to see that passengers are comfortable throughout a trip, usually receiving and seating them, and sometimes serving them refreshments.
  5. a woman who manages a resort or hotel or who directs its social activities.
  6. taxi dancer.
verb (used with object)
  1. to be the hostess at (a reception, dinner, etc.): She will hostess a shower for the new bride.
  2. to act as hostess at, to, or for: She volunteered to hostess the garden club next season.
verb (used without object)
  1. to perform the duties or functions of a hostess.

Origin of hostess

1250–1300; Middle English (h)ostesse < Old French. See host1, -ess
Related formshost·ess-ship, noun

Usage note

See -ess. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for hostess

host, toastmistress

Examples from the Web for hostess

Contemporary Examples of hostess

Historical Examples of hostess

  • So the hostess had decreed, and so instructed Alfred and Gracie.

  • "I want to go," she said at last, in answer to her hostess' pleading.

  • Thus doubtless our hostess reasoned, and in all probability she was right.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • It was my fortune to be well known to Madame Van Rensselaer, our hostess.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • They went in this much by the face and voice of the host or hostess.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for hostess


  1. a woman acting as host
  2. a woman who receives and entertains patrons of a club, restaurant, etc
  3. See air hostess
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 hostess

late 13c., "woman who keeps an inn or public hotel," from host (n.1) + -ess, or from Old French hostesse (Modern French hôtesse). Meaning "woman who presides at a dinner party, etc." recorded by 1822. Also used mid-20c. in sense "female who entertains customers in nightclubs," with overtones of prostitution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper