hostile

adjective
hos·​tile | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostile (audio) , -ˌstī(-ə)l How to pronounce hostile (audio) \

Definition of hostile

1a : of or relating to an enemy hostile fire
b : marked by malevolence : having or showing unfriendly feelings a hostile act
c : openly opposed or resisting a hostile critic hostile to new ideas
d(1) : not hospitable plants growing in a hostile environment
(2) : having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature a hostile workplace
2a : of or relating to the opposing party in a legal controversy a hostile witness
b : adverse to the interests of a property owner or corporation management a hostile takeover

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Other Words from hostile

hostile noun
hostilely \ ˈhä-​stᵊl-​(l)ē How to pronounce hostilely (audio) , -​ˌstī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb

Examples of hostile in a Sentence

Dugoni, a lawyer who coauthored a nonfiction book about an Idaho worker brain-damaged in 1996 by cyanide fumes, opens his debut novel with a wrongful death attorney in San Francisco, David Sloane, about to make his closing remarks defending a corporation in a similar case. Sloane, who has won 14 cases in a row, hates his arrogant client and must face an obviously hostile jury. Publishers Weekly, 9 Jan. 2006 Relations with neighboring societies may be intermittently or chronically hostile. A society may be able to hold off its enemies as long as it is strong, only to succumb when it becomes weakened for any reason, including environmental damage. — Jared M. Diamond, Collapse, 2005 I do not want a hostile relationship with my surgeon. But it's obvious he's pigeonholed me into the last of the four patient categories that doctors use when writing a case history: young, middle-aged, senior, elderly. — Sylvia Simmons, Newsweek, 10 June 2002 Even when one is inside a climate-controlled spacecraft, sheltered from the deadly vacuum outside, space is a hostile setting. Terrestrial organisms venturing off the planet face a number of threats, chief among them cosmic radiation and the near absence of gravity. — Kenneth S. Kosik, Air & Space, June/July 2001 Lotus Development Corp. succumbed to a sweetened offer of $3.52 billion, or $64 a share, from International Business Machines Corp. in one of the fastest capitulations ever in a hostile takeover. A marathon week of negotiations, which began shortly after IBM unveiled a surprise bid of $60 a share for Lotus last Monday, ended yesterday with the signing of a definitive agreement. — Laurie Hays et al., Wall Street Journal, 12 June 1995 While the stereotype of the tortured artist brooding alone in a drafty garret may be an exaggeration, artists of all kinds—painters, musicians, poets, singers—often find themselves struggling to cope in a … world downright hostile to their work. Financial hardships, loneliness, family members who nag them to get "real" jobs, and their own self-destructive attitudes and habits can block creativity and prevent artists from pursuing their vision. New Age Journal, Winter 1995 They were entering hostile territory. Her suggestions were given a hostile reception. It was a small town that was hostile to outsiders. The camel is specially adapted to its hostile desert habitat.
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Recent Examples on the Web At a January committee hearing, representatives from civil society organizations testified that traditionally hard-to-count communities were at risk of being undercounted, particularly in a political environment many immigrants perceive as hostile. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, "House lawmakers grill census director amid concerns over first digital survey," 13 Feb. 2020 But local decisions to cease county jail contracts with ICE may result in ICE increasingly transferring detainees to local jurisdictions that are more remote or hostile to immigrant rights. Emily Ryo, The Conversation, "Hundreds of county jails detained immigrants for ICE," 11 Feb. 2020 Trump himself, after all, is largely hostile to many of the republican virtues and democratic norms that its designs hope to convey. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Non-Fascist Case for Classical Architecture," 10 Feb. 2020 The attacks come amid rising tensions between the city’s 34,000-member force and the administration of de Blasio, who has implemented several measures that critics say are hostile to police. Fox News, "Gunman who targeted NYPD officers in 2 'premeditated' attacks has violent past, previous shootout with cops," 10 Feb. 2020 But in recent decades, Republicans have become the lockstep pro-Israel party, while the Democrats are split between centrists who remain broadly supportive of Israel and left-wing activists hostile to its policies and even its existence. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "The Democrats’ Civil War Gets Nasty in Iowa," 30 Jan. 2020 Supporters argue such measures are needed to protect against potential lawsuits hostile to the group’s religious beliefs. USA TODAY, "Giga roller coaster, ‘granny’ centennial, lion cubs born, Parker the cat passes away: News from around our 50 states," 24 Jan. 2020 The flare-up suggests India is turning increasingly hostile to the monopolistic practices of foreign e-commerce players that dominate the burgeoning market. Saritha Rai, Fortune, "India scoffs at Amazon CEO Bezos’s offer to invest $1 billion in the country," 17 Jan. 2020 Worse still, in countries like Brazil, the federal government is openly hostile to land defenders. Popular Science, "Latin American environmentalists face unprecedented violence in defending their land," 30 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hostile.' 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 hostile

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hostile

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin hostīlis, from hostis "enemy" + -īlis "pertaining to or characteristic of (such persons)" — more at host entry 1

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Time Traveler for hostile

Time Traveler

The first known use of hostile was in 1580

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Statistics for hostile

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hostile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hostile. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for hostile

hostile

adjective
How to pronounce hostile (audio) How to pronounce hostile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hostile

: of or relating to an enemy
: not friendly : having or showing unfriendly feelings
: unpleasant or harsh

hostile

adjective
hos·​tile | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostile (audio) \

Kids Definition of hostile

1 : belonging to or relating to an enemy They entered hostile territory.
2 : unfriendly sense 1 He moved to get away from hostile neighbors.

hostile

adjective
hos·​tile

Legal Definition of hostile

1 : having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature a hostile work environment
2a : of or relating to an opposing party in a legal action a hostile claim
b : adverse to the interests of a party to a legal action if the interests of the party joined involuntarily render him hostile to the original plaintiff, he must remain a defendant— J. H. Friedenthal et al.
3a : adverse to or incompatible with the interests of a property owner a hostile use — see also adverse possession at possession, easement by prescription at easement, prescription sense 1
b : unwelcome by or contrary to the interests of corporate stockholders or management a hostile takeover bid

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More from Merriam-Webster on hostile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hostile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hostile

Spanish Central: Translation of hostile

Nglish: Translation of hostile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostile for Arabic Speakers

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