hostage

views updated

hos·tage / ˈhästij/ • n. 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.PHRASES: hold (or take) someone hostage seize and keep someone as a hostage: they were held hostage by armed rebels taken hostage at gunpoint.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 fortune.

hostage

views updated

hostage †handing over of a person as a pledge; person thus held in pledge. XIII. — (O)F. (h)ostage (mod. otage) :- Rom. *obsidāticum, f. late L. obsidōtus hostageship, f. obses, obsid- hostage, f. OB + *sed- SIT; see -AGE. The initial h is by assim. to HOST2.