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 hostile (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 Volunteering for public service in one’s community, mastering a sport, developing a practical skill, and planning, training for, and completing an adventurous expedition through a hostile landscape are all prerequisites for receiving the award. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Farewell to Prince Philip," 9 Apr. 2021 More often, stings come from hostile yellowjackets that are not bees but predatory wasps. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What you can do in your yard to help Wisconsin's endangered species," 8 Apr. 2021 Even while facing hostile playing conditions and clearly biased refereeing, Crowe also taught his players to remain calm and take the high road. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Ray Crowe: Trailblazer, hero, icon, to be honored with elementary school in Whiteland," 8 Apr. 2021 Police officers in Portland have been resigning or retiring in record numbers, citing a hostile political climate and incompetence from city leaders. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Portland deploying unarmed park rangers to combat surge in shootings," 8 Apr. 2021 Possible targets could include a hostile nation’s nuclear launch sites or warships. Washington Post, "Air Force hypersonic missile fails to detach from plane during test," 7 Apr. 2021 And, in an attempt to tone down some of the more hostile public comments at its recent meetings, the council adopted a new statement to be read at the start of the meetings. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad approves campaign contribution limits," 7 Apr. 2021 If Biden does embrace the deal — and the Vienna talks in no way ensure such progress — the GOP is sharpening its knives to go after him for acquiescing to the hostile Islamic Republic. Los Angeles Times, "On Iran nuclear deal, Biden faces more distrust in Tehran and sharpened knives in Washington," 5 Apr. 2021 Today, a rising China aligned with a hostile Russia poses the greatest threat to vital American interests since the height of the Cold War, and U.S. foreign policy needs to be more grounded. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Detente May Be an Option With North Korea," 5 Apr. 2021

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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hostile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hostile. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for hostile

hostile

adjective

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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Comments on hostile

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