Definitions

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

  • n. A member of a military religious order founded among European crusaders in 12th-century Jerusalem to care for sick and needy pilgrims.
  • n. A member of any of several religious orders dedicated to the care of sick or needy persons.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One residing in a hospital, for the purpose of receiving the poor, the sick, and strangers.
  • n. One of an order of knights who built a hospital at Jerusalem for pilgrims, A. D. 1042. They were called Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and after the removal of the order to Malta, Knights of Malta.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One devoted to the care of the sick or the needy in a hospital or hospitals; specifically, a member of one of the medieval communities of laymen, monks, knights, etc., who bound themselves to observe certain monastic rules, generally the rule of Augustine, and to devote themselves to the care of the poor and the sick in hospitals.

Etymologies

Middle English Hospiteler, from Old French hospitalier, from Medieval Latin hospitālārius, giver of hospitality, from hospitāle, hospice; see hospital.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the Word of God - Hospitaler, Kingdom of Heaven

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • And after the death of him, the Saracens setting vpon the residue of the armie, whom they had compassed on euery side, deuoured and destroyed them all, insomuch that scarce one man remained aliue, sauing two Templaries, one Hospitaler, and one poore rascall souldier, which brought tidings hereof to the King.

    The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation

  • Visit to Malta of the prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaler Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta, to renew the ties forcibly severed by Napoleon's conquest of the island in 1798.

    3. Malta

  • He must strike, as it were, the shield of no Hospitaler of unsteady seat, but that of the

    Modern Mythology

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