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 Garda made a hostile takeover bid for G4S last month after failing to convince its management to come to the negotiating table. Dinesh Nair, Bloomberg.com, "Garda Expects to Pay Up to $403 Million in Fees for G4S Pursuit," 17 Oct. 2020 The relationship, which security sources say left Lord Darroch open to the threat of blackmail by a hostile foreign power, began to be examined in detail. Fox News, "UK’s US ambassador investigated over fears he leaked White House secrets to CNN reporter," 17 Oct. 2020 Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the sanctions a hostile act and said Moscow was considering how to respond. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "EU to Sanction Members of Putin’s Inner Circle Over Navalny Poisoning," 15 Oct. 2020 As the lines have been drawn more clearly, many people have developed hostile feelings toward the opposition party. Marjorie Hershey, The Conversation, "Political bias in media doesn’t threaten democracy — other, less visible biases do," 15 Oct. 2020 Now, some 40 years past the prime that Gibson first helped define (or further blur), minimalism’s new-car smell has long worn off, and its sporadic showings on concert programs still elicit hostile receptions. Washington Post, "The late composer Jon Gibson helped save minimalism from itself," 15 Oct. 2020 Twitter and Facebook can be hostile places for politicians but that doesn’t mean public officials can block their online critics. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Some public officials in Connecticut have blocked their critics on social media, but courts say that’s a form of censorship," 14 Oct. 2020 The goggles allow Army dog handlers to identify points of interest within a dog’s field of view without exposing the handler to hostile fire. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Army Is Putting Super Goggles on Doggos," 14 Oct. 2020 The ruling dismissed the lawsuit, which was brought by a group of right-wing lawmakers who have grown increasingly hostile to the Republican governor’s efforts to manage the pandemic. John Moritz, Arkansas Online, "Judge dismisses state lawmakers' bid to end health emergency," 14 Oct. 2020

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

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hostile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hostile. Accessed 23 Oct. 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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