a person given or held as security for the fulfillment of certain conditions or terms, promises, etc., by another.
Archaic. a security or pledge.
Obsolete. the condition of a hostage.
verb (used with object), hostaged, hostaging.
to give (someone) as a hostage: He was hostaged to the Indians.

1225–75; Middle English < Old French hostage (h- by association with (h)oste host2), ostageVulgar Latin *obsidāticum state of being a hostage < Latin obsid- (stem of obses) hostage (equivalent to ob- ob- + sid- sit) + -āticum -age

hostageship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Hostages
World English Dictionary
hostage (ˈhɒstɪdʒ)
1.  a person given to or held by a person, organization, etc, as a security or pledge or for ransom, release, exchange for prisoners, etc
2.  the state of being held as a hostage
3.  any security or pledge
4.  give hostages to fortune to place oneself in a position in which misfortune may strike through the loss of what one values most
[C13: from Old French, from hoste guest, host1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1275, from O.Fr. hostage "person given as security or hostage," either from hoste "guest" (see host (1)) via notion of "a lodger held by a landlord as security," or from L.L. obsidanus "condition of being held as security," from obses "hostage," from ob- "before" + base of
sedere "to sit." Modern political/terrorism sense is from 1970s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Hostage definition

a person delivered into the hands of another as a security for the performance of some promise, etc. (2 Kings 14:14; 2 Chr. 25:24).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Example sentences for Hostages
He takes hostages from the villages and kills them when he feels it is
Thousands of deserters were killed their families were often treated as
The war ended in a peace treaty, and both sides exchanged hostages.
Some hostages are released whilst others are killed, sometimes by beheading.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature