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

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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 Souhila Hamiham signed up for the hostel-sized-bed CoLive subscription in October. Washington Post, 1 June 2021 More than 20,000 hostel travelers from around the world voted to determine which of the 35 hostels would be the final seven HOSCAR winners. Tanya Mohn, Forbes, 18 May 2021 The car bomb struck outside a hostel, and Afghan officials say high school students were among those killed, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata reports. CBS News, 1 May 2021 The American Alpine Club runs the park’s most affordable non-camping option, the hostel-style Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch (from $83 for two people). Dina Mishev, Outside Online, 7 Apr. 2021 Its upscale bunk room that sleeps 10 people and is a modern twist on hostel stays. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 26 Mar. 2021 Video from the scene showed a white Nissan SUV smashed into the storefront of Highland Market, located between a tattoo parlor and a hostel on Hollywood Boulevard. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2021 Over its 30-year history, the WASU would move to a new location in Camden and open a second hostel on Chelsea Embankment due to increasing demand. Yosola Olorunshola, Quartz, 6 Mar. 2021 Chief Opeolu Ogunbiyi, Solanke’s wife (nicknamed ‘Mama WASU’) became the matron of the hostel and organized for food to be shipped from the continent to Britain. Yosola Olorunshola, Quartz, 6 Mar. 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

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.

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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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Learn More about hostel

Time Traveler for hostel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hostel

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hostel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for hostel



English Language Learners Definition of hostel

: an inexpensive place for usually young travelers to stay overnight
British : a shelter for homeless people


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


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