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Definition of "hostage" [hos•tage]

  • A person held by one party in a conflict as security that specified terms will be met by the opposing party. (noun)
  • One that serves as security against an implied threat: superpowers held hostage to each other by their nuclear arsenals. (noun)
  • One that is manipulated by the demands of another: "National policies cannot be made hostage to another country” ( Alan D. Romberg). (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "hostage" in a sentence
  • "And U.S. troops chasing down insurgents in Falluja say they have found what they call a hostage slaughterhouse."
  • "Before I talk about the lines Obama quoted, however (I will have more to say about Sa'di and the rest of his work in another post) I want to acknowledge the importance of the message itself, not just because he sent it-and if you don't know much about US-Iranian relations beyond the facts of what we called the hostage crisis and the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, you might not realize just how significant the simple fact of sending such a message is-but also because of"
  • "The Post's editorial board on Sunday blasted Landrieu's hold on Lew, stating that holding his nomination "hostage is not the right way to express that concern.""