- a person given as a pledge, or taken prisoner as by an enemy or terrorist, until certain conditions are met
- Obs. the state of being a hostage
Origin of hostageMiddle English from Old French from hoste: see host
- A person held by one party in a conflict as security that specified terms will be met by the opposing party.
- One that serves as security against an implied threat: superpowers held hostage to each other by their nuclear arsenals.
- One that is under the constraining control of another: “In becoming a mother one becomes a hostage to fortune” ( Janna Malamud Smith )
Origin of hostageMiddle English from Old French probably from host guest, host ; see host 1.
- 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.
From Old French hostage (French: otage, from hoste or Late Latin obsidanus.)