hostage

noun
hos·​tage | \ ˈhä-stij \

Definition of hostage

1a : a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge pending the fulfillment of an agreement
b : a person taken by force to secure the taker's demands
2 : one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence

Examples of hostage in a Sentence

The terrorists demanded a plane and a pilot in exchange for the hostages. The hostage crisis is now entering its second week. The passengers were taken hostage. They were held hostage for several days.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Tom used to procure the release of hostages in Iraq before moving into the world of finance. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gabriella Windsor, the Latest Royal to Get Engaged, Has a Pretty Controversial Family," 19 Sep. 2018 Tom used to procure the release of hostages in Iraq before moving into the world of finance. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Buckingham Palace Just Announced that Prince Harry's Cousin is Marrying Pippa Middleton's Ex," 19 Sep. 2018 In the past, this has given some members the power to revolt and even hold parts of the site hostage. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Reddit employee saved Gamergate forum KotakuInAction after its creator tried to destroy it," 13 July 2018 French media reported that the three men took the pilot hostage at a flying club in the Paris region. Sylvie Corbet, Time, "Infamous French Thief Escapes Prison in Bold Helicopter Caper," 1 July 2018 French media reported that the three men took the pilot hostage at a flying club in the Paris region. NBC News, "Notorious French criminal freed from prison by heavily armed men in helicopter," 1 July 2018 While the kidnappers were trying to invade the home, keeping the men hostage, family members armed themselves and got in a shootout with them. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Home invaders hold men hostage near Bush Airport, sparking shootout," 28 June 2018 When the couple first saw the land in Mineral Point, wild apple trees had taken the property hostage, Biondi said. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Wisconsin, when life hands you apples, you make elegant ciders. And brandy," 27 June 2018 When the hostages came home from Iran, on the space shuttle. Kathy Cichon, Elgin Courier-News, "Kool & The Gang to bring funk, jazz and pop to Elgin for Fourth," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hostage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hostage

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hostage

Middle English hostage, ostage, borrowed from Anglo-French, "lodging, residence, custody of a person held as security against fulfillment of an agreement, the person so held," from hoste "guest, host" + -age -age — more at host entry 3

Note: The peculiar sense shift apparently arose from the Old French use of hostage in verbal phrases such as prendre en hostage "to take in residence, lodge" in reference to the lodging of a person held as surety; the import of hostage was then transferred to the status of such a person, and finally to the actual person.

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Dictionary Entries near hostage

hospodar

host

hosta

hostage

hostage crisis

hostageship

hostal

Statistics for hostage

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hostage

The first known use of hostage was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for hostage

hostage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hostage

: a person who is captured by someone who demands that certain things be done before the captured person is freed

hostage

noun
hos·​tage | \ ˈhä-stij \

Kids Definition of hostage

: a person who is captured by someone who demands that certain things be done before the captured person is freed

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More from Merriam-Webster on hostage

Spanish Central: Translation of hostage

Nglish: Translation of hostage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostage for Arabic Speakers

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