American English

Definition of hostage noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a person who is captured and held prisoner by a person or group, and who may be injured or killed if people do not do what the person or group is asking Three children were taken hostage during the bank robbery. He was held hostage for almost a year. The government is negotiating the release of the hostages. The hijackers kept the pilot as a hostage on board the plane.
  2. 2(figurative) to be held hostage to the whims of dictators
  3. Idioms
    a hostage to fortune
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    something that you have, or have promised to do, that could cause trouble or worry in the future
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: hostage

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