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


We were greeted by our hostess. She's the hostess of a popular talk show.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Students entertained guests in order to learn to be good hostesses, and (later) good wives and mothers. Carla Yanni, Smithsonian, "How College Dorms Evolved to Fit America’s Gender and Racial Politics," 6 Sep. 2019 On the expectations side of the screen, the artist successfully flirts with, holds hands and dances with the hostess. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Claud Pays Homage to '500 Days Of Summer' in 'Wish You Were Gay' Video: Watch," 27 June 2019 Members and guests were greeted by hostesses, President Rhonda Panepinto and Board Member Helen Depree. Helen Williams,, "Timberlane commission stays busy to protect future of country club," 14 June 2019 For a last-minute hostess gift, cut a baguette in half and wrap it in a towel. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is a Tea Towel, Anyway? Different Ways to Use This Not-so-Basic Kitchen Cloth," 25 July 2019 Say goodbye to traditional hostess gifts such as flowers, candies, and wine and say hello to chic, sophisticated tokens of appreciation for the next dinner party or weekend stay. Carol Mccolgin, The Hollywood Reporter, "Summer's Go-to Hostess Gifts," 22 July 2019 Diana Tyson, director of Burbank Singers, played hostess to members of the local choruses at her home in the hills of La Crescenta. Jane Napier Neely, La Cañada Valley Sun, "The Valley Line: Music echoes throughout the Foothills this summer, in backyards and parks," 15 July 2019 In even better news, West Elm also happens to be having a major sale on holiday decor and winter essentials right now, just in time for last-minute hostess gifts and Christmas-decorating prep. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "PSA: West Elm Is Having a Major Holiday Decor Sale," 18 Dec. 2018 At first, Olivia, the restaurant’s hostess, didn’t think much of Kyle’s work ethic as a server. Michelle Matthews |, al, "For this Alabama couple, life on the road is the only way to go," 30 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for hostess

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for hostess

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

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English Language Learners Definition of hostess

: a woman who is entertaining guests socially or as a job
: a woman whose job it is to greet and help people in a restaurant or on an airplane or ship
: a woman who talks to guests on a television or radio show


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

Kids Definition of hostess

: a woman who receives or entertains guests

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More from Merriam-Webster on hostess

Spanish Central: Translation of hostess

Nglish: Translation of hostess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hostess

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