follow Dictionary.com

hostage

[hos-tij] /ˈhɒs tɪdʒ/
noun
1.
a person given or held as security for the fulfillment of certain conditions or terms, promises, etc., by another.
2.
Archaic. a security or pledge.
3.
Obsolete. the condition of a hostage.
verb (used with object), hostaged, hostaging.
4.
to give (someone) as a hostage:
He was hostaged to the Indians.
Origin
1225-1275
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
Related forms
hostageship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hostage
  • When demand exceeds supply, any producer will be able to hold the world hostage.
  • The world has been held hostage to oil and coal producers for far too long.
  • They would hold the crew hostage, threaten to sink the vessel, and demand a ransom payment.
  • He strapped explosives to his body, and he held the children hostage.
  • He also held general managers hostage with his contractual demands.
  • But books have been held hostage offline for far too long.
  • Below are lists of who was killed, who escaped, and who was held hostage.
  • Perhaps he would be willing to grant us peace, and receive me as a hostage.
  • Through obstruction and corruption- these corporations have shown they can hold a country hostage.
  • No one gets to hold you hostage to their inability to recognize your boundaries.
British Dictionary definitions for hostage

hostage

/ˈhɒstɪdʒ/
noun
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
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from hoste guest, host1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hostage
n.

late 13c., from Old French hostage "person given as security or hostage" (12c., Modern French ôtage), either from hoste "guest" (see host (n.1)) via notion of "a lodger held by a landlord as security," or from Late Latin obsidanus "condition of being held as security," from obses "hostage," from ob- "before" + base of sedere "to sit" [OED]. Modern political/terrorism sense is from 1970.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
hostage in the Bible

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hostage

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hostage

11
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with hostage