hos·​tel | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Definition of hostel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : inn
2 : an inexpensive lodging facility for usually young travelers that typically has dormitory-style sleeping arrangements and sometimes offers meals and planned activities

called also youth hostel

3 chiefly British : a supervised institutional residence or shelter (as for homeless people)


hosteled or hostelled; hosteling or hostelling

Definition of hostel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to stay at hostels overnight in the course of traveling

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of hostel in a Sentence

Noun in the old days, a traveler could spend the night at one of the hostels placed along the coach route
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By 1914, the town had a population of a few hundred people, a post office, a grocery store, a cafe, a general store, a hostel, dairy businesses and had become a voting precinct and judicial district. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Oct. 2021 Tamil Nadu factory arranged a hostel for young women employees. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 13 Sep. 2021 Afghan guerrillas have defeated a superpower and made their country an inviting hostel for a new generation of aspiring terrorists. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 Hostelling International offers another lighthouse hostel stay 30 miles up the coast near Half Moon Bay. Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2021 After all, with the delta variant popping off, your priority is protecting your kids, not providing a pop-up hostel for your party-hearty mother-in-law. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Aug. 2021 For one week, the pair did maintenance work at a hostel in Peru and helped local schoolchildren learn English. Ken Budd, Travel + Leisure, 15 July 2021 The group were attempting to make the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in a homemade laboratory in a hostel, police said. NBC News, 1 July 2021 Its history will be commemorated in the new hostel, perhaps by a display in the cafe. New York Times, 11 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s when the first upscale hostels appeared, determinedly different from those hosteling clichés. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Sep. 2018 Of course, hosteling originated as a way for young backpackers to sleep safely and comfortably without the expense of a hotel. Rick Steves, miamiherald, 3 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of hostel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hostel


Middle English, "lodging, accommodation, inn, dwelling place," borrowed from Anglo-French ostel, hostel, going back to Latin hospitāle "guest accommodation" (in plural hospitālia) — more at hospital

Note: Latin hospitāle as a noun is very sparsely attested in texts before the later Middle Ages, though the phonetic development to ostel and its semantic diversification show that it must have been well-established in Gallo-Romance at an early date.


derivative of hostel entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best travel accessories of 2021.

Learn More About hostel

Time Traveler for hostel

Time Traveler

The first known use of hostel was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near hostel

host cell



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hostel

Last Updated

3 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hostel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hostel



English Language Learners Definition of hostel

: an inexpensive place for usually young travelers to stay overnight
: a shelter for homeless people


hos·​tel | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Kids Definition of hostel

: a place providing inexpensive lodging usually for young travelers


hos·​tel | \ ˈhäs-tᵊl How to pronounce hostel (audio) \

Medical Definition of hostel

chiefly British
: housing maintained by a public or private organization or institution especially : a rest home or rehabilitation center for the chronically ill, the aged, or the physically disabled

More from Merriam-Webster on hostel

Nglish: Translation of hostel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about hostel


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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