1 a person given to or held by a person, organization, etc., as a security or pledge or for ransom, release, exchange for prisoners, etc.
2 the state of being held as a hostage
give hostages to fortune to place oneself in a position in which misfortune may strike through the loss of what one values most
(C13: from Old French, from hoste guest, host1)
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"Collins English Dictionary 5th Edition first published in 2000 © HarperCollins Publishers 1979, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"