host·​ess | \ ˈhō-stəs How to pronounce hostess (audio) \

Definition of hostess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a woman who entertains socially
2a : a woman in charge of a public dining room who seats diners
b : a female employee on a public conveyance (such as an airplane) who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers
c : a woman who acts as a partner or companion to male patrons in a dance hall or bar


hostessed; hostessing; hostesses

Definition of hostess (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to act as hostess

transitive verb

: to serve as hostess to

Examples of hostess in a Sentence

Noun We were greeted by our hostess. She's the hostess of a popular talk show.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Two people, a hostess and chef, were on board at the time the boat sank, Lycke told CBS News. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, 9 May 2022 New books this month are out of this world, almost literally, with a fun memoir from a former air hostess and a couple of knockout fantasy and horror titles. Washington Post, 1 May 2022 And the Japanese hostess culture, there was so much. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 The resident strongwoman, Luella Lynne, dressed like a game-show hostess in a shimmering sequin dress and high heels, proceeded to bend steel bars and break shackles with her bare hands, with nary a bead of sweat. David Hill, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 As the proverbial woman behind the most powerful man on earth, the first lady plays an often undefined role as political ally, emissary, hostess and, in some cases, arbiter of style. Cathy Whitlock, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2022 Thomas Jefferson's daughter with his late wife served as hostess and informal first lady during his presidency. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 17 Apr. 2022 For the calm seeker: This hostess gift acknowledges that entertaining, however fun, takes work—and this bundle (aside from your excellent company) is the reward. Aleksandra Crapanzano, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2021 Pair this set with a favorite tea and some jam or preserves for a comforting holiday or hostess gift. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of hostess


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1927, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for hostess


Middle English hostesse, ostesse "woman who receives guests, female innkeeper," borrowed from Anglo-French, from oste, hoste "host, guest" + -esse -ess — more at host entry 3


derivative of hostess entry 1

Learn More About hostess

Time Traveler for hostess

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near hostess



hostess cart

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hostess

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hostess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for hostess


host·​ess | \ ˈhō-stəs How to pronounce hostess (audio) \

Kids Definition of hostess

: a woman who receives or entertains guests


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!