hostile

adjective
hos·​tile | \ ˈhä-stᵊl How to pronounce hostile (audio) , -ˌstī(-ə)l How to pronounce hostile (audio) \

Essential Meaning of hostile

1 : of or relating to an enemy They were entering hostile territory. hostile [=enemy] troops
2 : not friendly : having or showing unfriendly feelings a hostile atmosphere/expression Her suggestions were given a hostile reception. See More Exampleshostile behavior an openly hostile critic It was a small town that was hostile to/toward outsiders. a hostile witness [=a witness in a legal case who supports the opposing side]Hide
3 : unpleasant or harsh The camel is specially adapted to its hostile desert habitat. a hostile workplace

Full 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 hostile (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 The workers claim that the mandate is a violation of their constitutional rights and that lab management has created a hostile work environment. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 19 Oct. 2021 The Rebels head coach was asked in a pre-game interview by SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic what gives him comfort and calm in such a hostile environment. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 16 Oct. 2021 However, this might be an option for a team that is working within a hostile environment. Tendayi Viki, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 The Chicago White Sox acquired Lance Lynn in an offseason trade with the Texas Rangers for a situation like Thursday: a big game in a hostile environment against a team loaded with talent. Lamond Pope, chicagotribune.com, 7 Oct. 2021 Diaz’s suit was a hostile work environment and racial harassment case brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2021 The jury in San Francisco agreed that Owen Diaz was subjected to racial harassment and a hostile work environment. NBC News, 5 Oct. 2021 Diaz's suit was a hostile work environment and racial harassment case brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1866. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Oct. 2021 Former Green Bay clerk accused mayor's office of taking over elections process, creating hostile work environment With his subpoenas, Gableman is seeking information about private grants to help run elections that have long frustrated Republicans. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near hostile

hostess-ship

hostile

hostile embargo

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Statistics for hostile

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hostile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hostile. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for hostile

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

More from Merriam-Webster on hostile

Nglish: Translation of hostile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hostile for Arabic Speakers

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