What does hostage mean?

Definitions for hostage
ˈhɒs tɪdʒhostage

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word hostage.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hostage, surety(noun)

    a prisoner who is held by one party to insure that another party will meet specified terms


  1. hostage(Noun)

    A person given as a pledge or security for the performance of the conditions of a treaty or stipulations of any kind, on the performance of which the person is to be released.

    Etymology: From hostage (French: otage, from hoste or obsidanus.)

Webster Dictionary

  1. Hostage(noun)

    a person given as a pledge or security for the performance of the conditions of a treaty or stipulations of any kind, on the performance of which the person is to be released

    Etymology: [OE. hostage, OF. hostage, ostage, F. tage, LL. hostaticus, ostaticum, for hospitaticum, fr. L. hospes guest, host. The first meaning is, the state of a guest, hospitality; hence, the state of a hostage (treated as a guest); and both these meanings occur in Old French. See Host a landlord.]


  1. Hostage

    A hostage is a person or entity which is held by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war. However, in contemporary usage, it means someone who is seized by a criminal abductor in order to compel another party such as a relative, employer, law enforcement, or government to act, or refrain from acting, in a particular way, often under threat of serious physical harm to the hostage after expiration of an ultimatum. A person who seizes one or more hostages is known as a hostage-taker; if the hostages are present voluntarily, then the receiver is known as a host.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Hostage

    hos′tāj, n. one remaining with the enemy as a pledge for the fulfilment of the conditions of a treaty.—Hostages to fortune, a man's wife, children, &c. [O. Fr. hostage (Fr. ôtage)—Low L. obsidaticus—L. obses, obsidis, a hostage.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. hostage

    A person held as a pledge that certain terms or agreements will be kept. (The taking of hostages is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions, 1949.)

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. hostage

    A person given up to an enemy as a pledge or security for the performance of the articles of a treaty.

Suggested Resources

  1. hostage

    Song lyrics by hostage -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by hostage on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'hostage' in Nouns Frequency: #2812

Anagrams for hostage »

  1. she-goat

  2. he-goats

How to pronounce hostage?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say hostage in sign language?

  1. hostage


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of hostage in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of hostage in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of hostage in a Sentence

  1. Margaret Mead:

    If I were to be taken hostage, I would not plead for release nor would I want my government to be blackmailed. I think certain government officials, industrialists and celebrated persons should make it clear they are prepared to be sacrificed if taken hostage. If that were done, what gain would there be for terrorists in taking hostages?

  2. Mike Connors:

    I have a knife, a bomb and a hostage. Bring it on. i was kind of in shock.

  3. Nancy Pelosi:

    The fact is, President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans.

  4. Tony Garces:

    I took the gun away from a man who attempted to take others in the church hostage, he already fired off one shot and I wasn’t going to let him fire again.

  5. Marwan Shehada:

    Nusra wants recognition, they want to be seen both in and outside Syria as a partner so they can establish a lasting foothold in the country, they hope to be embraced by the Qataris in the same way other groups have. Hostage negotiations are a way to raise money but also to boost prestige.

Images & Illustrations of hostage

  1. hostagehostagehostagehostagehostage

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for hostage

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for hostage »


Find a translation for the hostage definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these hostage definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "hostage." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Oct. 2020. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/hostage>.

    Are we missing a good definition for hostage? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for hostage:

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.