I am taking morphology class this semester but I am confused with something. What is the root of the word hospitable? When I searched in internet I conclude that the root is the word host or at least hospitable. But then my lecturer said that it was come from the word hospice. I just could not understand what kind of word process and word formation involve if its true it is come from the word hospice. I really appreciate your help.

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    The full (subscription-only) OED says hospitable derives from obsolete French hospitable (Cotgrave 1611), or < Latin type hospitābilis , < hospitāre : see hospitate adj. and -ble suffix. And for hospitate it says (rare) Devoted to the purposes of a hospice. So chalk one up to your lecturer! Dec 11, 2018 at 17:45
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    @FumbleFingers what you mean, chalk one up to their lecturer. Nonono. In English, the root of hospitable is hospitable. As your own quote confirms.
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 11, 2018 at 17:46
  • @RegDwigнt: Splitting hairs much? If OED says "see [other English word]" in their "etymology" section, I'm happy to understand that as meaning "the etymology the current word is the same as / related to that of [other English word]". There may indeed be "deeper" roots than that, but it seems reasonable to me to say that hospice is somewhere in the ancestral tree of hospitable (whether as a direct ancestor, or just some kind of "great aunt" isn't clear to me). But rare or not, hospitate is right there anyway. Dec 11, 2018 at 18:19
  • @FumbleFingers not splitting any hairs at all. And not going for deeper roots, but indeed the exact opposite. I don't care what the deeper root of the French word hospitable is in French. Or what the deeper root of the German word zeitgeist is in German. Or what the deeper root of the Russian word perestroyka is in Russian. I am looking at the English roots of the English words hospitable, zeitgeist, perestroyka. And the English roots of these English words are hospitable, zeitgeist, perestroyka, respectively. Not hospice, not tide and ghost, and not stroy.
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 11, 2018 at 18:25
  • @RegDwigнt: Well, I'm aware that OED's first cite for hospitate is several centuries later than their first cite for hospitable, so it makes no sense to claim that the longer word actually "came" from the shorter one. But the connection between hospice and hospitable seems clear enough to me, and I have the impression OP here wasn't originally inclined to accept any meaningful link between the two words - so essentially, he was wrong and the lecturer was right. Whatever - we both know perfectly well that you know more about such things than me! :) Dec 11, 2018 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


From the morphological point of view, the noun 'hospitability' is the derivative of 'hospitable' formed by affixation. The noun 'hospitable' is a root word because it was borrowed as a 'ready-made' adjective from French. See Etymology Online Dictionary: hospitable (adj.)

"kind and cordial to strangers or guests," 1560s, from Middle French hospitable, which is formed as if from a Medieval Latin hospitabilis, from the stem of Latin hospitari"be a guest," from hospes (genitive hospitis) "guest" (see host (n.1)). The Latin adjective was hospitalis, but this became a noun in Old French and entered English as hospital. Related: Hospitably.


The earliest recorded root is the Latin word hospit- (nominative hospes) which means "guest". Hospice, hospital and hostel are all derived from it by different routes.

It in turn goes back to the Indo-European *gʰóstis "stranger, guest, enemy", which also underlies both hostile and guest. See Wiktionary

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