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 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
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

Example Sentences

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 Education advocates have said the change would help alleviate some of the hostility on the board. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2022 The tone of Leib's tweet reflects what The Verge reported is a growing solidarity between Twitter’s frustrated remaining staff against the hostility of Musk’s management style. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 15 Nov. 2022 Further deregulation of the airwaves under Thatcher and John Major left the BBC fully exposed to commercial competition and the hostility of Britain’s mostly right-leaning print media. Dominic Green, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 However, if the hostility persists, review your company’s policies and consult further with HR. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2022 Keeping up with an online audience, a crucial part of boosting engagement and shaping an online personality, also exposes creators to unrelenting criticism and the casual hostility that shadows much of the social web. Hamza Shaban, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2022 Sometimes the hostility existed within her own team. Veronica Wells, Essence, 25 Oct. 2022 As with Trump, Democrats continue to hope that the GOP’s hostility to immigration will save them. Time, 24 Oct. 2022 The scene recalled the government’s persecution of popular student politicians and, more broadly, the hostility toward Muslims that marks the Hindu nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.). Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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