hostility

play
noun hos·til·i·ty \ hä-ˈsti-lə-tē \

Definition of hostility

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 flee
  • —R. 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 air
  • —Theodor Reik

Examples of hostility in a Sentence

  1. They were both glad to have gotten through the divorce proceedings without any visible signs of hostility.

  2. The townspeople showed open hostility to outsiders.

  3. Peace talks were stalled after recent hostilities.

  4. Both sides are calling for a cessation of hostilities.

Recent Examples of hostility from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hostility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of hostility

Synonym Discussion of 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

HOSTILITY Defined for English Language Learners

hostility

play
noun

Definition of hostility for English Language Learners

  • : an unfriendly or hostile state, attitude, or action

  • hostilities : acts of fighting in a war


HOSTILITY Defined for Kids

hostility

play
noun hos·til·i·ty \ hä-ˈsti-lə-tē \

Definition of hostility for Students

plural hostilities
1 :an unfriendly or hostile state, attitude, or action
  • They showed no hostility toward strangers.
2 hostilities plural :acts of warfare

Medical Dictionary

hostility

play
noun hos·til·i·ty \ hä-ˈstil-ət-ē \

medical Definition of hostility

plural hostilities
:conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle

hostile

play \ˈhäs-tᵊl, -ˌtīl\ adjective


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hostility? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a strongly worded attack

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!