Share this entry
hospital Syllabification: hos·pi·tal
Pronunciation: /ˈhäˌspidl/

Definition of hospital in English:


1An institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people.
Example sentences
  • My doctor has referred me to the eye clinic at the local hospital for surgical treatment.
  • The medical wards of hospitals admit the oldest and sickest people in our community.
  • Neath is a smaller hospital with a busy medical intake but no acute surgical services.
infirmary, medical center, health center, clinic, sanatorium, hospice;
Military  field hospital
dated asylum
2 historical A hospice, especially one run by the Knights Hospitaller.
3 [usually in names] British Law A charitable institution for the education of the young.


Middle English (sense 2): via Old French from medieval Latin hospitale, neuter of Latin hospitalis 'hospitable', from hospes, hospit- (see host1).

  • Latin hospis meant both ‘host’ and ‘guest’. This has given us host (Middle English) itself (in the meaning ‘a person who entertains other people as guests’), hostel (Middle English), and hotel, as well as hospice (early 19th century), hospital, hospitality (Late Middle English), and hostile (late 16th century). Although the immediate source of guest (Old English) is Old Norse gestr, the history of the word can be traced back to an ancient root shared by Latin hostis.

Definition of hospital in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources