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 Divas can be fabulous anywhere – including at a hostel. Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY, "The funniest celeb commercials, from Ja Rule's low-budget ad to Taylor Swift for Apple Music," 3 July 2020 Anna Shakhmatova, 64, is pictured in the hostel accommodations organized by Dom Druzei. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, "‘We feel absolutely abandoned’: How the pandemic in Russia tanked the economy and plunged families into crisis," 2 July 2020 When Portugal’s two most popular hostel hybrids, The Independente Hostel & Suites in Lisbon and The House of Sandeman in Porto, reopen in July, their dorm rooms will be capped at 60 percent capacity. Chadner Navarro, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Hostels Are Going Socially Distant While Keeping Their DNA," 25 June 2020 Dineer is now staying in a hostel run by the homelessness charity Centrepoint which has given her stability, if only temporarily. Vicky Spratt,, "The Young Homeless Women Hiding In Plain Sight," 11 June 2020 In January, a judge ordered the hostel closed and the German government agreed. Eric Shawn | Fox News, Fox News, "Kim Jong Un’s Berlin moneymaker to be shut down after court order, signaling victory for Trump, Otto Warmbier’s family," 3 May 2020 In one day as the coronavirus pandemic began, the hostel lost $4,000 in bookings. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Whatever happens with the postponed 2020 DNC, it won't be the party Milwaukee businesses expected to host," 24 Apr. 2020 For bargain accommodations, try the hostel HI Martha’s Vineyard where dormitory beds cost $38 and private rooms are $99 (open seasonally through mid-October). Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "Summer’s Not Over Yet! 8 Ways to Extend Your Vacation," 2 Sep. 2019 Jason lives in a city hostel established for homeless individuals who are in quarantine and isolation. Caroline Schulman, STAT, "It was my job to call people whose Covid-19 tests were positive. That taught me a lot about medicine, the law, and society," 24 Apr. 2020 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, "How Hostels Became Poshtels: The Remaking of a Backpacker's Hangout," 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, "Think you're too old for hostels? If you're alive, you're young enough to hostel | Miami Herald," 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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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

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hostel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for hostel


How to pronounce hostel (audio)

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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