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From Middle English gest, from Old Norse gestr, which replaced or was merged with Old English ġiest, both from Proto-Germanic *gastiz, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰóstis (stranger, guest, host, someone with whom one has reciprocal duties of hospitality). Cognate with German Gast (guest). Doublet of host, from Latin.



guest (plural guests)

  1. A recipient of hospitality, especially someone staying by invitation at the house of another.
    The guests were let in by the butler.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      We expressed our readiness, and in ten minutes were in the station wagon, rolling rapidly down the long drive, for it was then after nine. We passed on the way the van of the guests from Asquith.
  2. A patron or customer in a hotel etc.
    Guests must vacate their rooms by 10 o'clock on their day of departure.
  3. An invited visitor or performer to an institution or to a broadcast.
    The guest for the broadcast was a leading footballer.
  4. (computing) A user given temporary access to a system despite not having an account of their own.
  5. (zoology) Any insect that lives in the nest of another without compulsion and usually not as a parasite.
  6. (zoology) An inquiline.



guest (third-person singular simple present guests, present participle guesting, simple past and past participle guested)

  1. (intransitive) to appear as a guest, especially on a broadcast
  2. (intransitive) as a musician, to play as a guest, providing an instrument that a band/orchestra does not normally have in its line up (for instance, percussion in a string band)
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To receive or entertain hospitably.
    • 1608, Josuah Sylvester, Du Bartas his divine weekes and workes
      Two Angels sent Two Heav'nly Scowts the Lord to Sodom sent ; downe , received and guested


Derived terms[edit]