A person seized or held as security for the fulfillment of a condition: the kidnapper had instructed the hostage’s family to drop the ransom at noon
More example sentences
- The blasts also triggered chaos inside the building, which a number of hostages seized upon as their cue to escape.
- Most of the child hostages who were seized by terrorists were reported to be alive.
- Yes, we cannot really impose on him a condition to leave his family behind as hostages.
Middle English: from Old French, based on late Latin obsidatus 'the state of being a hostage' (the earliest sense in English), from Latin obses, obsid- 'hostage'.
hold (or take) someone hostage
- Seize and keep someone as a hostage: they were held hostage by armed rebels taken hostage at gunpointMore example sentences
- They seize the recruits and hold them hostage for a few hours.
- It's like the Stockholm Syndrome where hostages imprint on the people who hold them hostage and fight against their rescuers.
- They hold you hostage and feed you horrible fattening food you would never eat anywhere else.
a hostage to fortune
- An act, commitment, or remark that is regarded as unwise because it invites trouble or could prove difficult to live up to: making objectives explicit is to give a hostage to fortuneMore example sentences
- This brave statement may yet prove to be a hostage to fortune.
- They might pass something that proves an electoral liability or makes a minister a hostage to fortune.
- There is no point in producing a blog if it is not honest and open but politicians are wary beasts because we are all hostages to fortune and we don't want to give our opponents ammunition.