hos·​tel | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Definition of hostel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : inn
2 : an inexpensive lodging facility for usually young travelers that typically has dormitory-style sleeping arrangements and sometimes offers meals and planned activities

called also youth hostel

3 chiefly British : a supervised institutional residence or shelter (as for homeless people)


hosteled or hostelled; hosteling or hostelling

Definition of hostel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to stay at hostels overnight in the course of traveling

Examples of hostel in a Sentence

Noun in the old days, a traveler could spend the night at one of the hostels placed along the coach route
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The new arrivals in Warsaw are typically greeted by volunteers who, within a few hours, match them with a family or hostel willing to house them. Caitlin Dickerson, The Atlantic, 3 May 2022 The settlers took over part of one of the hotels — a popular backpacker hostel — last month. Joseph Krauss, ajc, 23 Apr. 2022 The couple accused Miller of barging into their bedroom and threatening them at a hostel in Hilo, the same Big Island town where the actor had been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment in a separate incident in late Match. Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 Terry Prekaski, the owner, said that the couple let Miller stay with them at a hostel, the news outlet reported. NBC News, 30 Mar. 2022 Thru-hiking hinges on a balance between the long-term goal of finishing and the short-term goal of staying sane by, say, stopping in town for a burger and a beer or watching a bad movie at a hostel, blissful with fatigue. Outside Online, 2 July 2020 Its variety of inexpensive accommodations range from hostel-style bunks and individual huts built on stilts to campsites beneath coconut palms. Graham Averill, Outside Online, 7 May 2022 In town, hikers can most certainly find budget-friendly, hostel-style lodging, but for something more upmarket, our vote is the Everett Hotel, perched on Bryson City's picturesque town square. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Travel + Leisure, 27 Mar. 2022 Last month, Kenya launched its Integrated Molecular Imaging Center and Hospitality Center, a cancer treatment center equipped with a 100-person hostel facility. Conrad Onyango, Quartz, 18 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s when the first upscale hostels appeared, determinedly different from those hosteling clichés. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Sep. 2018 Of course, hosteling originated as a way for young backpackers to sleep safely and comfortably without the expense of a hotel. Rick Steves, miamiherald, 3 May 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of hostel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hostel


Middle English, "lodging, accommodation, inn, dwelling place," borrowed from Anglo-French ostel, hostel, going back to Latin hospitāle "guest accommodation" (in plural hospitālia) — more at hospital

Note: Latin hospitāle as a noun is very sparsely attested in texts before the later Middle Ages, though the phonetic development to ostel and its semantic diversification show that it must have been well-established in Gallo-Romance at an early date.


derivative of hostel entry 1

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Time Traveler for hostel

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The first known use of hostel was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near hostel

host cell



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Statistics for hostel

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hostel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hostel


hos·​tel | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Kids Definition of hostel

: a place providing inexpensive lodging usually for young travelers


hos·​tel | \ ˈhäs-tᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Medical Definition of hostel

chiefly British
: housing maintained by a public or private organization or institution especially : a rest home or rehabilitation center for the chronically ill, the aged, or the physically disabled

More from Merriam-Webster on hostel

Nglish: Translation of hostel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about hostel


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