Hos"tage (?), n. [OE. hostage, OF. hostage, ostage, F. otage, LL. hostaticus, ostaticum, for hospitaticum, fr. L. hospes guest, host. The first meaning is, the state of a guest, hospitality; hence, the state of a hostage (treated as a guest); and both these meanings occur in Old French. See Host a landlord.]
A person given as a pledge or security for the performance of the conditions of a treaty or stipulations of any kind, on the performance of which the person is to be released.
Your hostages I have, so have you mine;
And we shall talk before we fight.
He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.
© Webster 1913.