• (RP) IPA: /ˈhɒstɪdʒ/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈhɑstɪdʒ/

hostage (plural hostages)

  1. A person given as a pledge or security for the performance of the conditions of a treaty or similar agreement, such as to ensure the status of a vassal.
  2. A person seized in order to compel another party to act (or refrain from acting) in a certain way, because of the threat of harm to the hostage.
  3. Something that constrains one's actions because it is at risk.
  4. One who is compelled by something, especially something that poses a threat; one who is not free to choose their own course of action.
  5. The condition of being held as security or to compel someone else to act or not act in a particular way.
    • 1740, Thomas Roe, The negociations ... in his embassy to the ottoman Porte from the year. 1621-28 inclusive. Now first publ. from the originals, page 376:
      […] which number, in Januarye last, the better halfe were already sett free, and departed, and the rest attend the oportunitye of good passadge, except only some few ordayned to bee kept in hostage, for the redemption of Turkes, pretended from us; […]
    • 1953, New York (State) Court of Appeals, New York Court of Appeals. Records and Briefs, page 37:
      Technically speaking, the Arnold infant was not "kidnapped" at all. Rather was she seized and held in hostage. The defendant "carried" no one away. It is true that for a brief space of time he "detained" the Arnold infant in the garage, but this act, in and of itself, does not constitute "kidnapping" in the legal sense of the word, since, in reality, he was holding her "in hostage"—as a pledge, or shield, or guarantee of his own safety. The appellant, who had spent some time in the armed forces[,] seized the child and "held her in hostage", just as prisoners of war are held in hostage.
    • 2015, Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, Fig, page 138:
      This is what my mother must have been like when she was twelve—that is, minus the dark hair and upside-down smile and the wild animal held in hostage.
Translations Verb

hostage (hostages, present participle hostaging; past and past participle hostaged)

  1. (possibly, nonstandard) To give (someone or something) as a hostage to (someone or something else).
    • 2003, Shirley Mask Connolly, Kashubia to Canada: Crossing on the Agda : an Emigration Story, page 16, quoting some earlier work:
      " […] in voting the prolongation of the military budget on a war estimate for a span of three years, contemplates, it is said, a speedy reoccupation of the six departments of France which were hostaged to the Germans at the termination of the war."
  2. (possibly, nonstandard) To hold (someone or something) hostage, especially in a way that constrains or controls the person or thing held, or in order to exchange for something else.
    • 1983, Nursing Mirror:
      Flexibility of hours is now hostaged to availability of work. Yet, despite these obvious drawbacks the appeal to nurses of freelancing seems to live on. The chief advantage of agency work is the lack of commitment or not being bound by contract ...
    • 1987, Susan Catherine Crouch, Western responses to Tanzanian socialism, 1967-83, Gower Pub Co (ISBN 9780566054556):
      Thus, via the Arusha Declaration the Tanzania Government were demonstrating that its country's development would not be hostaged to the capriciousness of the West.
    • 1989, Daily Report: East Asia:
      Warning the United States against further intervention, the Reformist Forces said: “Never again shall the Filipino be hostaged to foreign might. The Filipino has (his) own mind with the Philippine interest in the highest priority."
    • 1991, Donovan Orman Roberts, Stubborn ounces--just scales: with Witness for Peace in Nicaragua : a gringo's reflections, observations, and sermons, Css Pub Co (ISBN 9781556734175)
      A number of the nation's leading senators were hostaged for a $500,000 ransom and the release of Sandinistas held prisoner by Somoza. To the dictator's everlasting chagrin, Daniel Ortega was one of the commandos returned to the rebels […]
    • 1996, Arnold Molina Azurin, Beyond the Cult of Dissidence in Southern Philippines and Wartorn Zones in the Global Village (ISBN 9789717420080):
      He recounts how a boatload of Bajau were used as human targets by an armed band in the South, and the surviving women were hostaged for ransom: "Since everyone knew the Bajau were nearly all subsistence fishermen and the poorest […] "
    • 2013, Edna O'Brien, Country Girl: A Memoir, Little, Brown (ISBN 9780316230360):
      He was annoyed at having to get out to open the green gates, and then it was on down past the olive groves and the vineyards to the villa, in which I was hostaged for eleven days.

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