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[hos-tl or, esp. British, -tahyl] /ˈhɒs tl or, esp. British, -taɪl/
of, relating to, or characteristic of an enemy:
a hostile nation.
opposed in feeling, action, or character; antagonistic:
hostile criticism.
characterized by antagonism.
not friendly, warm, or generous; not hospitable.
a person or thing that is antagonistic or unfriendly.
Military. an enemy soldier, plane, ship, etc.
Origin of hostile
1585-95; < Latin hostīlis, equivalent to hostis enemy (see host2) + -īlis -ile
Related forms
hostilely, adverb
interhostile, adjective
nonhostile, adjective
nonhostilely, adverb
overhostile, adjective
overhostilely, adverb
prehostile, adjective
semihostile, adjective
semihostilely, adverb
unhostile, adjective
unhostilely, adverb
Can be confused
hostel, hostile (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. warlike, aggressive. 2. adverse, averse, contrary. Hostile, inimical indicate that which characterizes an enemy or something injurious to one's interests. Hostile applies to the spirit, attitude, or action of an enemy: They showed a hostile and menacing attitude. Inimical applies to an antagonistic or injurious tendency or influence: Their remarks were inimical to his reputation.
1, 2. friendly. 3. sympathetic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hostilely
Historical Examples
  • Having done so, he turned on the shabby verandah, with the intention of looking Donald hostilely up and down.

    Angela's Business Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • And their probably true father is for ever there, hostilely there, passing for her cousin, as usual: now her protecting cousin.

    Clarissa, Volume 7 Samuel Richardson
  • The girls eyed her hostilely, where she stood, by the fireplace, dominating the scene.

    The Cricket Marjorie Cooke
  • For they did not regard him as hostilely as usual, and he immediately concluded they were on another track.

    The Luminous Face Carolyn Wells
  • So the Organ-Sunday, which had begun so hostilely, ended quite peacefully.

    Erick and Sally Johanna Spyri
  • The moment her fears that he had met Delamere hostilely were removed, all her tenderness for him returned with new force.

    Emmeline Charlotte Turner Smith
  • Lawyer Tolman looked at him hostilely and inquiringly through his gold-rimmed glasses.

  • Philippina got up: “Yes, it is my money,” she confessed with reluctance, and looked at Dorothea hostilely.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • Public attention had been earnestly and hostilely directed to the questionable project, and Burr's hopes were at an end.

  • It seems to me quite certain that the Maharajah is hostilely disposed towards the Colonel.

British Dictionary definitions for hostilely


antagonistic; opposed
of or relating to an enemy
a hostile person; enemy
Derived Forms
hostilely, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin hostīlis, from hostis enemy
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
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Word Origin and History for hostilely



late 15c., from Middle French hostile "of or belonging to an enemy" or directly from Latin hostilis "of an enemy," from hostis "enemy" (see guest). The noun meaning "hostile person" is recorded from 1838, American English, a word from the Indian wars.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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