Definition of hostel in US English:



  • 1An establishment which provides inexpensive food and lodging for a specific group of people, such as students, workers, or travelers.

    • ‘Construction delays at a new hostel have again seen students forced to stay in a hotel, possibly for as long as a month.’
    • ‘If you're traveling solo, a hostel can be cheaper than a hotel.’
    • ‘Funding is being provided to establish a hostel for visiting families of patients and for use by post-operative patients.’
    • ‘In addition to providing hostels and day centres for homeless people, Alabare runs projects geared towards drug addicts, victims of domestic violence and people with disabilities or learning difficulties.’
    • ‘The action is over demands for an increase in the living-out allowance, which allows miners to live away from the single-sex hostels provided by the company.’
    • ‘Moreover, the level of services and facilities provided by hotels, hostels and camping sites varies considerably.’
    • ‘Many employers will not consider someone who provides a hostel or bed & breakfast lodgings as an address.’
    • ‘Since 1981, a total of 28 people have been killed in fires at backpacker hostels and other cheap boarding facilities.’
    • ‘Comfortably housed in college hostels, the students describe the programme as the ‘most memorable of their lives’ and are very proud to be chosen.’
    • ‘A hotel that once knew better days is now a cheap hostel.’
    • ‘Volunteers from the shop also give talks in local hostels and provide cheap clothing to them.’
    • ‘As the street reaches the train station, it becomes seedier, with fast food joints, strip clubs and cheap hostels.’
    • ‘A study by the Irish Refugee Council examined the experiences of asylum seekers in Cork, Ennis and Limerick who rely on hostels for food and supplies.’
    • ‘Students living in hostels, unlike other tenants, are not covered by the Residential Tenancy Act 1986, which lays out the minimum standards required of landlords.’
    • ‘Each of the school's two hostels has 52 students with every room colour coded and featuring beds, wardrobes, drawers, a pin board, a desk and chair as well as shelving.’
    • ‘The road is lined by cheap hostels and unpretentious bars that bustle at night, and has been a popular spot for foreign backpackers and budget tourists for many years.’
    • ‘Before calling in police, management disconnected electricity and water supplies to the factory and to the workers' hostels in an attempt to break the strike.’
    • ‘The Irish Refugee Council's report found the direct-provision system, where asylum seekers' needs are provided by hostels, was not working.’
    • ‘The conditions in workers' hostels - mostly private dwellings in the surrounding areas - also contribute to health problems.’
    • ‘The hostels for Gujjar students established during the tenure of Sheikh Abdullah in the late 1970s are far from adequate to meet the rising demand.’
    cheap hotel, youth hostel, ymca, ywca, bed and breakfast, b&b, boarding house, guest house, pension
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      short for youth hostel
      • ‘The hostel provides free luggage storage, so I won't be burdened with a pack that's larger than my torso.’
      • ‘The YMCA continues to provide social, sporting, and recreational activities, as well as hostel accommodation.’
      • ‘We stayed at this little town called Port Campbell in a YHA hostel that provided backpackers' accommodation for 18 dollars a night.’
      cheap hotel, youth hostel, ymca, ywca, bed and breakfast, b&b, boarding house, guest house, pension
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2archaic An inn providing accommodations.


Middle English (in the general sense ‘lodging, place to stay’): from Old French, from medieval Latin hospitale (see hospital).