Definition of hostess in US English:



  • 1A woman who receives or entertains guests.

    ‘the perfect dinner-party hostess’
    • ‘‘We're going to play a fun game tonight,’ said the hostess as the guests arrived.’
    • ‘I warn you, ladies and gentlemen, our hostess is talented in every art and craft imaginable.’
    • ‘Mrs. Dalloway is about another woman named Clarissa, an upper-middle-class woman, a perfect hostess, who is planning a party.’
    • ‘Some hostesses like to begin by providing an oil fondue so guests may deep-fry their own meat and vegetables, which may then be dunked into various dipping sauces.’
    • ‘I must remember to thank her for being the perfect hostess.’
    • ‘In an attempt to further increase the response rate from manners-challenged guests, hosts and hostesses resorted to pre-stamping the envelopes.’
    • ‘A Chinese hostess will usually say to her guests she has nothing to offer them but some coarse food and plain tea.’
    • ‘I partially agree with Peggy Post's answer to whether or not it is appropriate for a dinner-party guest to inform the hostess if she is a vegetarian.’
    • ‘If homemade gifts are one of your talents, this could be the perfect gift for your hostess.’
    • ‘When we entered the large hallway a woman quickly came to greet us and I could tell by her dress that she was either one of the guests or the hostess - definitely not a servant.’
    • ‘And for those a little shaky on how to make a good Chinese cuppa, one of the gracious hostesses will provide gentle instruction.’
    • ‘Mama herself is the perfect hostess, her beaming smile, sparkling eyes and brightly printed dress catching the kids' attention from the start.’
    • ‘In this environment she is the embodiment of the perfect hostess, but this doesn't mean that's all there is to Delia Smith.’
    • ‘Whereas in the past you could just serve up three courses for all guests and hope they enjoyed your cooking, these days a wise hostess checks with her guests about genuine intolerance.’
    • ‘It was actually a compliment to her as a hostess, that she had made her guest so comfortable and welcome.’
    • ‘The guests can simply help themselves and the hostess is free to join her own party, rather than circulate with a bottle.’
    • ‘I guess I just like to be the perfect hostess - flowers on the nightstand, toiletries, favorite foods, etc.’
    • ‘Karen Barnes, associate editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, believes it is possible to become the perfect hostess without losing your cool.’
    • ‘Everything was going fine as I acted the perfect hostess, running to and fro with refreshments.’
    • ‘But it was beauteous Jayaprada who seemed all over the place at Annapurna Studios playing a perfect hostess and receiving prominent guests.’
    party-giver, entertainer
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    1. 1.1US A woman employed at a restaurant to welcome and seat customers.
      • ‘He picked up a newspaper on his way inside and waited for the hostess to seat him.’
      • ‘A few minutes later we were still waiting for the hostess when two blue-haired women entered the restaurant behind us.’
      • ‘His girlfriend used to be the restaurant's hostess, but she now helps out during the day, arranging flowers and such.’
      • ‘She had a job as a hostess at Caleb's restaurant, La Cantina.’
      • ‘In fact one member of his staff was formerly a restaurant hostess and another an accountant who both eventually found themselves in the pastry kitchen.’
      • ‘Helen pushes Jerry into asking out Naomi, an attractive restaurant hostess, but is horrified to discover she has an obnoxious laugh.’
      • ‘And maybe, just maybe, I would get a call from that cute hostess from the Chinese place when I went last week and left my number scrawled on a napkin because Linx dared me to.’
      • ‘One summer I worked at a pancake house in Maine, and we had a tall, elegant older woman as hostess for the restaurant.’
      • ‘She regretfully declines, but he becomes obsessed with making her head hostess of his theme restaurant operation.’
      • ‘My sister had dreadlocks for about a year, while working as a hostess in a restaurant in the suburbs, and responses ran the entire gamut of hilarity.’
      • ‘The situation could have been avoided if the hostess had just seated us at a table for two (as we had requested), left our menus and water and walked away.’
      • ‘On the morning of June 5, 2005, a female graduate from a School of Finance at a Wuhan university began her first day of work as a hostess at a local restaurant.’
      • ‘We walked all together inside the restaurant and waited for the hostess to seat us.’
      • ‘Suddenly we must process the inevitable assumption by hostesses at restaurants and ticket takers at movie theaters that we are not together.’
      • ‘I walked into a restaurant and asked the hostess to dial 911.’
      • ‘She grew up in Sweden, but she would look more at home as hostess of the Athens Cafe in Astoria than in some bikini contest.’
      • ‘The hostess seated them at a small table by a brook running the full length of the dining area.’
      • ‘For instance, we encounter two delivery nurses, an elementary or preschool teacher, and a restaurant hostess, all of whom are on screen for a very short time.’
      • ‘If you're a waiter or hostess at a local restaurant with little or no ambition who's looking for an after-work hang-out, you'll fit right in here.’
      • ‘We were escorted to our seats by a breathy young hostess.’
    2. 1.2 A woman employed to entertain customers at a nightclub, bar, or dance hall.
      • ‘Western hostesses who work in Japanese nightclubs don't have sex with their clients - unless they want to, at which point they're free to accept money and gifts.’
      • ‘She was working as a hostess in a Tokyo nightclub when she disappeared in July 2000 after visiting him.’
      • ‘The hostesses sit with the customers, but she only sells the wine. She brings them their pink champagne.’
      • ‘Nightclub hostesses and air stewardesses were a mundane part of the mix.’
      • ‘Once inside Johnson immediately abandoned Michael while he flirted with a waitress-bar hostess he knew.’
      • ‘To get by, many cash-strapped mistresses go back to work as nightclub hostesses or juggle several patrons at one time to earn extra income.’
      • ‘In one lounge, a heavily made-up Chinese hostess with robustly arched eyebrows sits calmly at a table, playing solitaire as she puffs on a cigarette.’
      • ‘She thought of this as the tall blonde hostess led her to the booth in which Andrea, Ryan, and Andrea's current boyfriend Eduardo were sitting.’
      • ‘She began working as a nightclub hostess when she met and married a drunken dentist who committed suicide three years after her execution.’
      • ‘Japanese hostesses sit with the customers and provide conversation while continually filling the glasses.’
      • ‘He also enthusiastically encouraged her in her plan to become a nightclub hostess and she duly went to work in a clip joint off Piccadilly.’
      • ‘Hostessing is an integral part of Japanese culture, but pretty, blonde western hostesses were highly prized in any nightclub.’
      • ‘Still, there are sharply etched performances from Duncan Bell as the agonised Christopher, Hugh Ross as his hedonistic brother and Juliet Cadzow as a maternal nightclub hostess.’
      • ‘The hostess that escorted us to our table was very nice and polite.’
      • ‘Ruth Ellis, a night-club hostess, was the last woman to be executed in Britain in 1955.’
      • ‘After learning of her deception, husband Louis burns her lacy white lingerie, and she is next seen wearing the racy black costume of a nightclub hostess.’
      • ‘This tale of two nightclub hostesses (played by Sylvia Syms and June Ritchie) unfolds in a deracinated Britain where moral certainties are being eroded by affluence.’
      • ‘More than 46 percent of these women work as bar hostesses, followed by waitresses and factory workers.’
      • ‘He started paying to have sex with high-class call girls on a daily basis and once spent £1,300 on a diamond ring for a nightclub hostess he had known ‘for five minutes’.’
      • ‘A nightclub hostess has been charged with relieving a 56 year old American of his treasured valuables.’
      paid companion
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    3. 1.3 A stewardess on an aircraft, train, etc.
      • ‘Of its 120 staff, AirCalin is left with just 10 hostesses and stewards to maintain operations.’
      • ‘The cabin crew had been specially selected for the flight and amongst these hostesses were nurses and linguists fluent in French, Spanish and Italian.’
      • ‘It's also the only train I know where hostesses mix piña coladas and rum punches on each car's roof.’
      • ‘The strike was called by the Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers and the commercial and navigation staff union which represents hostesses, stewards and commercial staff.’
      • ‘The flotilla usually comprises of 8/10 boats, one of which, referred to as the lead boat, carries a skipper, hostess and an engineer.’
      • ‘It was a gorgeous airbus, plenty of spare seats and most professional and courteous hostesses / stewards.’
      • ‘I ask one of the hostesses when I may expect to receive a drink and she cries out in irritation, ‘Back to your seat.’’
      • ‘And when we go on these holidays, we are no longer fed free on the flights, as our hostesses offer us refreshments from their ‘pay-bar’.’
      • ‘The daylong flight was tolerable in business class, with legroom and hostesses to fuss over us.’
      • ‘Two hostesses or stewardesses in matching outfits enter.’
      • ‘To suit the occasion, the stewards and hostesses sported the Lebanese look, and Arabic music and fragrance completed the Arabic experience.’
      • ‘The ride up was mainly uneventful, it was a three-hour trip and the hostess of the train car kept us entertained with games and trivia about the Grand Canyon.’
      • ‘Before they got on, the hostess disinfected his seat and the floor around it.’
      server, waitress, stewardess, steward, attendant
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    4. 1.4 A woman who introduces a television or radio program.
      ‘a game-show hostess’
      • ‘Ros Davidson examines the mega-clout wielded by the chat-show hostess from humble Mississippi.’
      • ‘After her A Levels, Geri left and became a hairdresser, keep fit instructor, dancer, waitress, sales assistant, nude model, game show hostess and finally Spice Girl.’
      • ‘You worked together in ‘Dogville’ and the film ‘Birth’ and the legend label was used by a British morning show hostess.’
      • ‘Li, a self-described feng shui expert, visited Taiwan in 1992 and married a former television hostess.’
      • ‘Of those polled, 19.1 percent picked Chang as their dream boss, followed by popular television hostess Chang Hsiao-yen at 18.2 percent.’
      • ‘The end result is an unsatisfying film in which poverty, the exploitation of children and other social problems are just backdrops for a rather average tale about a street hustler and a television hostess.’
      • ‘Like a lot of such women, she sounds as if she is auditioning for a job as a game show hostess.’
      • ‘However, she started down a different career path after being chosen as the hostess for a radio programme for university students.’
      • ‘Of the two who were named, one, a British television hostess, had told her story to Premiere magazine years ago, and it has been widely known and largely ignored.’
      • ‘The other day, the hostess of a popular talk show on a Tamil channel announced on screen that she was sporting a ‘malivu vilai’ saree.’
      • ‘She was the hostess of a daily talk show ‘Play Around With Jenny’ which I always watch.’
      • ‘This meant that local television stations could use their own hostesses in lieu of national hosts if they chose.’
      • ‘The Guard stands ready to serve and couldn't care less what some blonde under-fed bubble-headed morning show hostess has to say about their situation.’
      • ‘Just over three weeks earlier she landed the job as hostess on BBC Television's ‘It's a Knockout’.’
      • ‘Local people in trouble like to turn to Ye Sha, the hostess of a night call-in talk programme called ‘Sunrise companion.’’
      • ‘After the broadcast, radio hostesses give children goodie bags to take home, physical reminders to reinforce their message long after the show.’
      • ‘As callers are using the anonymity of radio, they can bare their souls to the hostess and even to the whole city across the air waves.’
      • ‘Star Jones, a US television hostess, even had an ‘official airline’ for her much-trailed wedding last November.’
      • ‘For a while she became an underwear model for Lejaby, but her big break came when she landed the job as hostess in the TV gameshow Wheel of Fortune.’
      • ‘What if he was the person in the pictures and the female was a television program hostess, but they were just having a liaison with no job favors involved?’


Middle English: from Old French ( h)ostesse, feminine of ( h)oste (see host).