host (n.1)

"person who receives guests," especially for pay, late 13c., from Old French oste, hoste "guest, host, hostess, landlord" (12c., Modern French hôte), from Latin hospitem (nominative hospes) "guest, stranger, sojourner, visitor (hence also 'foreigner')," also "host; one bound by ties of hospitality."

This appears to be from PIE *ghos-pot-, a compound meaning "guest-master" (compare Old Church Slavonic gospodi "lord, master," literally "lord of strangers"), from the roots *ghos-ti- "stranger, guest, host" and *poti- "powerful; lord." The etymological notion is of someone "with whom one has reciprocal duties of hospitality" [Watkins]. The biological sense of "animal or plant having a parasite" is from 1857.

host (n.2)

"a multitude," especially an army organized for war, mid-13c., from Old French ost, host "army" (10c.), from Medieval Latin hostis, in earlier use "a stranger, foreigner," in classical use "an enemy," from PIE root *ghos-ti- "stranger, guest, host."

It replaced Old English here (see harry (v.)), and in turn has been largely superseded by army. The generalized meaning of "large number" is first attested 1610s. The Latin h- was lost in Old French, then restored in Old French and Middle English spelling, and in modern English also in pronunciation. Lord of Hosts translates Hebrew Jehovah Ts'baoth (which appears more than 260 times throughout the Bible) and seems to refer to both heavenly (angelic) and earthly hosts.

host (n.3)

"body of Christ, consecrated bread," c. 1300, from Latin hostia "sacrifice," also "the animal sacrificed, victim," probably ultimately related to host (n.1) in its root sense of "stranger, enemy." Applied in Church Latin to Christ, in Medieval Latin to the consecrated bread.

host (v.)

"to serve as a host," early 15c., originally in the sense "give entertainment, receive as a guest," from host (n.1). Related: Hosted; hosting.

updated on February 16, 2018

Definitions of host from WordNet
host (n.)
a person who invites guests to a social event (such as a party in his or her own home) and who is responsible for them while they are there;
host (n.)
a vast multitude;
Synonyms: horde / legion
host (n.)
an animal or plant that nourishes and supports a parasite; it does not benefit and is often harmed by the association;
host (n.)
a person who acts as host at formal occasions (makes an introductory speech and introduces other speakers);
Synonyms: master of ceremonies / emcee
host (n.)
archaic terms for army;
Synonyms: legion
host (n.)
any organization that provides resources and facilities for a function or event;
Atlanta was chosen to be host for the Olympic Games
host (n.)
(medicine) recipient of transplanted tissue or organ from a donor;
host (n.)
the owner or manager of an inn;
Synonyms: innkeeper / boniface
host (n.)
(computer science) a computer that provides client stations with access to files and printers as shared resources to a computer network;
Synonyms: server
host (v.)
be the host of or for;
We hosted 4 couples last night
Host (n.)
a technical name for the bread used in the service of Mass or Holy Communion;
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.