Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who is employed to tend horses, especially at an inn.
  • n. One who services a large vehicle or engine, such as a locomotive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person employed at an inn, hostelry, or stable to look after horses; a groom
  • n. A person employed to care for a locomotive or other large engine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An innkeeper. [Obs.] See hosteler.
  • n. The person who has the care of horses at an inn or stable; hence, any one who takes care of horses; a groom; -- so called because the innkeeper formerly attended to this duty in person.
  • n. The person who takes charge of a locomotive when it is left by the engineer after a trip.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as hosteler, 1.
  • n. The person who has the care of horses at an inn; a stable-boy; a groom.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone employed in a stable to take care of the horses

Etymologies

Middle English, from Anglo-Norman hostiler, from Old French hostel, lodging; see hostel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Syncopated form of hosteler, from Middle French hostiler, from Old French hostelier, from Latin hostilarius, from hospitalarius, from hospitale "inn", from hospitālis "hospitable", from hospes "host, guest". Both hostler and its alternate form "ostler" originally meant simply "innkeeper", and acquired a specific association with horses in the second half of the 14th century. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The antiquary, that is, the hostler of the posthouse at Spoleto, tells you that his town repulsed the victorious enemy, and shows you the gate still called _Porta di

    The Works of Lord Byron. Vol. 2

  • As he dismounted, a hostler came out of the stable across the street

    WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL

  • He paid the bill, watched as the hostler saddled his mount, and then rode out

    WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL

  • Here we stopped, turning our horses over to the attention of a hostler, who moved so slowly as to seem ossified.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • "Ay, Dougal!" shouted a tattered hostler, running up to grab the halter of the lead horse.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • Faster than some contemporary hostler can rustle up fresh horses or the unseen manager can replace fleeing steeds who take legal tender while tending behind the isthmus separating employee from customer.

    When Is a Bar Not a Bar? : Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits

  • She prosecuted her trade too with every attention to its diminished income; shut up the windows of one half of her house, to baffle the tax-gatherer; retrenched her furniture; discharged her pair of post-horses, and pensioned off the old humpbacked postilion who drove them, retaining his services, however, as an assistant to a still more aged hostler.

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • Oliver and Sikes got in without any further ceremony; and the man to whom he belonged, having lingered for a minute or two ‘to bear him up,’ and to defy the hostler and the world to produce his equal, mounted also.

    Oliver Twist

  • Then, the hostler was told to give the horse his head; and, his head being given him, he made a very unpleasant use of it: tossing it into the air with great disdain, and running into the parlour windows over the way; after performing those feats, and supporting himself for a short time on his hind – legs, he started off at great speed, and rattled out of the town right gallantly.

    Oliver Twist

  • Grinder delivered the white – legged horse to the hostler of a quaint stable at the corner; and inviting Mrs Brown and her daughter to seat themselves upon a stone bench at the gate of that establishment, soon reappeared from a neighbouring public – house with a pewter measure and a glass.

    Dombey and Son

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