[hos-tl or, esp. British, -tahyl]


of, relating to, or characteristic of an enemy: a hostile nation.
opposed in feeling, action, or character; antagonistic: hostile criticism.
characterized by antagonism.
not friendly, warm, or generous; not hospitable.


a person or thing that is antagonistic or unfriendly.
Military. an enemy soldier, plane, ship, etc.

Origin of hostile

1585–95; < Latin hostīlis, equivalent to hostis enemy (see host2) + -īlis -ile
Related formshos·tile·ly, adverbin·ter·hos·tile, adjectivenon·hos·tile, adjectivenon·hos·tile·ly, adverbo·ver·hos·tile, adjectiveo·ver·hos·tile·ly, adverbpre·hos·tile, adjectivesem·i·hos·tile, adjectivesem·i·hos·tile·ly, adverbun·hos·tile, adjectiveun·hos·tile·ly, adverb
Can be confusedhostel hostile (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for hostile

1. warlike, aggressive. 2. adverse, averse, contrary. Hostile, inimical indicate that which characterizes an enemy or something injurious to one's interests. Hostile applies to the spirit, attitude, or action of an enemy: They showed a hostile and menacing attitude. Inimical applies to an antagonistic or injurious tendency or influence: Their remarks were inimical to his reputation.

Antonyms for hostile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hostilely

Historical Examples of hostilely

  • The girls eyed her hostilely, where she stood, by the fireplace, dominating the scene.

    The Cricket

    Marjorie Cooke

  • So the Organ-Sunday, which had begun so hostilely, ended quite peacefully.

    Erick and Sally

    Johanna Spyri

  • And their probably true father is for ever there, hostilely there, passing for her cousin, as usual: now her protecting cousin.

    Clarissa, Volume 7

    Samuel Richardson

  • For they did not regard him as hostilely as usual, and he immediately concluded they were on another track.

    The Luminous Face

    Carolyn Wells

  • The moment her fears that he had met Delamere hostilely were removed, all her tenderness for him returned with new force.


    Charlotte Turner Smith

British Dictionary definitions for hostilely



antagonistic; opposed
of or relating to an enemy


a hostile person; enemy
Derived Formshostilely, adverb

Word Origin for hostile

C16: from Latin hostīlis, from hostis enemy
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 hostilely



late 15c., from Middle French hostile "of or belonging to an enemy" or directly from Latin hostilis "of an enemy," from hostis "enemy" (see guest). The noun meaning "hostile person" is recorded from 1838, American English, a word from the Indian wars.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper