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

  • n. A woman who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.
  • n. A woman who manages an inn or hotel.
  • n. A woman who is the emcee or interviewer on a radio or television program.
  • n. A woman who is employed to greet and assist patrons, as in a restaurant.
  • n. A woman who is employed to dance with customers in a dance hall or nightclub. See Usage Note at -ess.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female host.
  • n. A female innkeeper.
  • n. Stewardess: a woman steward on an airplane.
  • n. a bar hostess or bargirl, a paid, female companion offering conversation and in some cases sex.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A female host; a woman who hospitably entertains guests at her house.
  • n. A woman who entertains guests for compensation; a female innkeeper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A female host; a woman who entertains guests; especially, a woman who keeps an inn.

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

  • n. a woman innkeeper
  • n. a woman host
  • n. a woman steward on an airplane


Middle English hostesse, from Middle French hostesse, from Old French ostesce, made up of oste ("host") + -esce ("feminine marker"). (Wiktionary)



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