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

Moreover, in Attica specifically, the guards — most of whom were white — were said to be deeply hostile toward inmates. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "The Attica Prison Riot in 1971 Serves as a Reminder of the Dangers of a Failing Prison System," 13 Sep. 2018 The Englewood residents seen in video footage regarded it as another hostile act by law enforcement instead of a bid to cut down on crime. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Video: Police allegedly left a “bait truck” filled with Nike shoes in a black Chicago neighborhood," 7 Aug. 2018 Committee members were not hostile to the project, and Planning Chairman Herb Smith said the measure likely would come up for a vote when the full council meets again July 2 at City Hall. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary church wants zoning clarified for addition of banquet hall," 27 June 2018 McNair seemed to make a strong case that NCAA officials were hostile toward him. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Ex-USC Coach Todd McNair Losing Trial to NCAA Shows Why Defamation Lawsuits Are Tricky to Win," 21 May 2018 Fifth Circuit courts--covering Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas--are notoriously hostile to the civil and human rights of women, whistleblowers and others targeted for mistreatment by powerful institutions. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "Ex-LSU instructor hopes to take discrimination claims to Supreme Court," 9 May 2018 North Korean state media recently aired footage of Trump returning a salute to a North Korean military general during this week's summit in Singapore -- an extraordinary display of respect from a US president to a top officer of a hostile regime. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "Sarah Sanders calls Trump's salute to North Korean general 'common courtesy'," 14 June 2018 Research has shown that the existence of racist and derogatory mascots and team names at schools can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for Native youth, impacting their self-esteem and mental health. Teen Vogue, "New Mexico Teacher Accused of Calling a Native Student a "Bloody Indian" and Cutting Another's Hair on Halloween," 3 Dec. 2018 This comes from a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behavior. Tara Golshan, Vox, "A top Democrat said he plans to investigate Ryan Zinke in Congress. Zinke called him a drunk.," 30 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for hostile

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hostile

The first known use of hostile was in 1580

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on hostile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hostile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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