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Increase Your Word Power #3

HOSP/HOST comes from the Latin word hospes and its stem hospit- meaning both “host” and “guest.” Many words based on it came to English through French, which often dropped the -pi-, leaving host-.  Hospitality is what a good host or hostess offers to a guest.  A hospital was once a house for religious pilgrims and other travelers, or a home for the aged.

  • Hostage: A person given or held to ensure that an agreement, demand, or treaty is kept or fulfilled.  The kidnappers released their hostage unharmed once all their demands were met.
  • Hospice: A place or program to help care for the terminally ill.  Uncle Harold was moved to the hospice only after my aunt had almost collapsed with exhaustion while caring for him.
  • Hostel: An inexpensive, supervised place for young travelers to stay overnight. Generations of American college students have traveled through Europe cheaply by staying at hostels instead of hotels.
  • Inhospitable: (1) Not welcoming or generous; unfriendly.   (2) Providing no shelter or food (such as a desert).  Shot down by government agents, the smuggler struggled for survival on the rocky, inhospitable island.

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder

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