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host·​ess ˈhō-stəs How to pronounce hostess (audio)
: a woman who entertains socially
: a woman in charge of a public dining room who seats diners
: a female employee on a public conveyance (such as an airplane) who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers
: a woman who acts as a partner or companion to male patrons in a dance hall or bar


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hostessed; hostessing; hostesses

intransitive verb

: to act as hostess

transitive verb

: to serve as hostess to

Example Sentences

Noun We were greeted by our hostess. She's the hostess of a popular talk show.
Recent Examples on the Web
Piccinetti had recently moved to London from her native Italy and was working as a hostess at an Italian restaurant when Sayer came in to eat. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 18 Apr. 2023 One scene takes place in a Japanese hostess bar, and someone comments that a bar patron likes younger girls. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2023 Each table has an adult hostess so the students can follow her lead. Beth Thames |, al, 9 Nov. 2022 In lower Manhattan, a hostess who demanded anonymity told me Mila Kunis was eating in her employer’s shed one day when a rat scurried beneath her feet. Curbed, 24 Oct. 2022 The hostess counted out five floppy oversized menus. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2022 It’s never been easier for the preschool teacher and restaurant hostess to swap one handbag for another., 1 Aug. 2022 Legendary horror hostess Elvira appears on the 1996 Bally Scared Stiff machine, looking right at home surrounded by Poison Girl’s provocative artwork. Chloe Liebenthal, Chron, 10 May 2023 The developer is also offering for sale the historic Braniff Airways hostess college on the Dallas North Tollway. Steve Brown, Dallas News, 8 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hostess.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1927, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near hostess

Cite this Entry

“Hostess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a woman who acts as host
especially : one who greets and provides service for diners in a restaurant or passengers on an airplane or ship
hostess verb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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