from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An institution that provides medical, surgical, or psychiatric care and treatment for the sick or the injured.
  • n. Chiefly British A charitable institution, such as an orphanage or a home for the elderly.
  • n. A repair shop for specified items: a doll hospital.
  • n. Archaic A hospice for travelers or pilgrims.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A building designed to diagnose and treat the sick, injured or dying. Usually has a staff of doctors and nurses to aid in the treatment of patients.
  • n. A building founded for the long term care of its residents, such as an almshouse. The residents may have no physical ailments, but simply need financial support.
  • n. A place of lodging.
  • n. The place and state of being hospitalized.
  • adj. hospitable

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hospitable.
  • n. A place for shelter or entertainment; an inn.
  • n. A building in which the sick, injured, or infirm are received and treated; a public or private institution founded for reception and cure, or for the refuge, of persons diseased in body or mind, or disabled, infirm, or dependent, and in which they are treated either at their own expense, or more often by charity in whole or in part; a tent, building, or other place where the sick or wounded of an army cared for.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hospitable.
  • n. A place of shelter or entertainment; an inn.
  • n. An institution or establishment for dispensing hospitality or caring for the needy; an asylum for shelter or maintenance.
  • n. Now, specifically, an establishment or institution for the care of the sick or wounded, or of such as require medical or surgical treatment.
  • n. In the navy, the designation formerly given to the apothecary.
  • To receive and care for in a hospital.
  • n. The tennis now extended to include establishments for the care and cure of sick or injured animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a health facility where patients receive treatment
  • n. a medical institution where sick or injured people are given medical or surgical care


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, hospice, from Old French ospital, from Medieval Latin hospitāle, from neuter of Latin hospitālis, of a guest, from hospes, hospit-, guest; see ghos-ti- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French hospital (Modern French hôpital), from Latin hospitālis ("hospitable"), from hospes ("host, guest")



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  • In Australia and NZ the use of 'go to hospital' and 'in hospital' is perfectly normal and acceptable.

    October 16, 2013

  • Could it be due to the French influence on English?
    aller à l'hôpital = "go to the hospital"

    aller en prison = "go to jail"

    I guess it may be arbitrary, as 
    go to school is "aller à l'école"

    October 16, 2013

  • Interesting. You get the same distinction with “go to” – you “go to school”, but “go to the hospital.” To me it seems the distinction has something to do with the purpose for being in the institution. You’re in school for an education and in prison for punishment or reform, both longer-term processes, whereas you’re in the hospital for a (hopefully) short-term procedure. Similarly, you go to a/the restaurant or bar for a short duration experience , you don’t “go to restaurant.” Or: “so-and-so celebrity completed their court-ordered 90-day stint in rehab” vs. “…stint in the rehab.” Of course that theory pretty well gets knocked down when you say English speakers in other lands don’t make that distinction. And I can further shoot down my theory with the phrases “he’s in prison” vs. “he’s in the pen.” So it’s probably all just arbitrary.

    October 16, 2013

  • Americans will say that someone is "in school" or "in prison", but not "in hospital". Instead, the usual phrasing is "in the hospital".

    I'm American, but I don't understand this. Britons say "in hospital" -- why don't we?

    I'd also be curious to learn which phrasing Canadians and Australians and New Zealanders use.

    October 16, 2013

  • That's exactly what Bastardo in Italy is like. And the 'bastard' was the guy who founded the pub, so he was eventually the point of reference for the locale's name.

    January 1, 2008

  • More like a crossroads and a pub, actually. But then that goes for most towns in Ireland, if I think about it.

    January 1, 2008

  • A town in County Limerick, Ireland.

    January 1, 2008