hostility

noun

hos·​til·​i·​ty hä-ˈsti-lə-tē How to pronounce hostility (audio)
plural hostilities
1
a
: deep-seated usually mutual ill will
glad to have gotten through the divorce proceedings without any visible signs of hostility
showed open hostility toward outsiders
b(1)
: hostile action
the Spanish expedition encountered hostility … and was forced to fleeR. W. Murray
(2)
hostilities plural : overt acts of warfare : war
Peace talks were stalled after recent hostilities.
2
: conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle
there was tension, there was hostility and envy in the airTheodor Reik
Choose the Right Synonym for hostility

enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will.

enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed.

an unspoken enmity

hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.

hostility between the two nations

antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility.

a natural antipathy for self-seekers
antagonism between the brothers

animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility.

animosity that led to revenge

rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong.

rancor filled every line of his letters

animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice.

objections devoid of personal animus

Examples of hostility in a Sentence

They were both glad to have gotten through the divorce proceedings without any visible signs of hostility. The townspeople showed open hostility to outsiders. Peace talks were stalled after recent hostilities. Both sides are calling for a cessation of hostilities.
Recent Examples on the Web Companies like Uber are difficult to use in Cancun, due to hostility between taxi companies and the apps. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 18 Feb. 2024 Every aspect of his daily life there was dictated by the guards: the food, the daily routine, plus the ongoing hostility between inmates and the staff. Steve Appleford, Rolling Stone, 17 Feb. 2024 Their bipartisan nature is especially significant, suggesting that the hostility is widespread, has a great deal of legislative support, and is not likely to change regardless of the results of the November election, either for president or Congress. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Although other artists have expressed doubts about their nominations and then been voted in anyway — most recently Dolly Parton, who eventually embraced the idea of being inducted — Gallagher’s clear hostility could have more of a suppressive effect on voting among the Hall’s 1,000-plus electors. Chris Willman, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 Any cash crunch, even if two years down the road, wasn’t addressed in Friday’s statement, nor was the hostility that followed a strike by teachers in March 2022 that shut down schools for eight days. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 10 Feb. 2024 Yet the militias all remain formidable Iranian proxies, especially the heavily armed Houthis in Yemen, and the strikes against them risked the kind of escalation of hostilities that President Biden has sought to avoid since the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip began in October. Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2024 If a cessation of hostilities is achieved and Hamas can be removed from power, Blinken would need Washington's Arab allies to help put in place a new governance structure. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 6 Feb. 2024 If a cessation of hostilities is achieved and Hamas can be removed from power — a big if — Blinken will need Washington’s Arab allies to help put in place a new governance structure. John Hudson, Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hostility.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English hostilite, hostilitie, borrowed from Late Latin hostīlitāt-, hostīlitās, from Latin hostīlis "of an enemy, hostile" + -itāt-, -itās -ity

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of hostility was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near hostility

Cite this Entry

“Hostility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hostility. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hostility

noun
hos·​til·​i·​ty hä-ˈstil-ət-ē How to pronounce hostility (audio)
plural hostilities
1
: a hostile state, attitude, or action
2
plural : acts of warfare

Medical Definition

hostility

noun
hos·​til·​i·​ty hä-ˈstil-ət-ē How to pronounce hostility (audio)
plural hostilities
: conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle
hostile adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on hostility

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