hostage

2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Hostage \Hos"tage\, noun [OE. hostage, OF. hostage, ostage, F. [^o]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.] 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.

Your hostages I have, so have you mine; And we shall talk before we fight. --Shak.

He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune. --Bacon.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

hostage

noun

1: a prisoner who is held by one party to insure that another party will meet specified terms [syn: {hostage}, {surety}]


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