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Hostess vs. Host: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 6, 2023
A hostess is a female who entertains guests or patrons, while a host is a gender-neutral or male term for one who entertains guests or presents an event.

Key Differences

A hostess is traditionally a term used to describe a female who receives or entertains guests, either in her own home or in a venue such as a restaurant or club. The role of a hostess often includes greeting guests, ensuring their comfort, and managing the overall hospitality experience.
A host can refer to a person of any gender who fulfills the same role as a hostess, but it is also specifically used to refer to males. The host is the welcoming figure, who, like the hostess, is responsible for guests' experiences during events or in hospitality settings.
The distinction between hostess and host is rooted in gender-specific language usage. While 'hostess' is explicitly feminine, 'host' is now often used as a gender-neutral term, reflecting changes in social attitudes towards gender roles and language.
In professional settings, the role of a host or hostess has the same responsibilities regardless of gender. They both are in charge of greeting, seating, and attending to the needs of customers or guests.
While the term 'hostess' is sometimes associated with certain connotations of femininity and traditional gender roles, modern usage has seen a shift towards using 'host' to represent anyone who performs the duties associated with hosting, regardless of gender, with the term 'hostess' being used less frequently in a professional context.

Comparison Chart

Gender Connotation

Gender-neutral or male


Traditionally used for women
Used for any gender, often for men

Modern Relevance

Less commonly used, can seem outdated
Preferred for gender-neutral language

Professional Titles

May be specific to certain industries
Broadly used across various industries


Comes from the feminine form of 'host'
The original term, used historically for men

Hostess and Host Definitions


A woman who receives patrons.
The restaurant hostess guided us to our table.


Entertainer of guests.
The host offered drinks to everyone who walked in.


Female entertainer.
The hostess graciously welcomed guests to her party.


Person who receives patrons.
The host at the café always had a smile ready.


A woman who manages guests.
The hostess at the event ensured everyone had a drink.


Presenter of an event.
The host of the evening kept the audience engaged.


A woman who services travelers.
The airline hostess prepared for the passengers' arrival.


A computer or network providing services.
The host computer stores all the shared files.


A female presenter.
The hostess of the show interviewed several celebrities.


Organizer of a party.
As a host, he made sure the party had enough food for everyone.


A woman who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.


One who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.


A woman who manages an inn or hotel.


A person who manages an inn or hotel.


Can 'host' refer to both a male and a service provider?

Yes, 'host' is used for males and for entities providing services.

Is 'hostess' only used for social settings?

No, it can also be used for women in professional hosting roles.

Are there male 'hostesses'?

No, men would be referred to as 'hosts.'

Is 'host' acceptable for formal invitations?

Yes, 'host' is acceptable and inclusive for invitations.

Are the job duties different for a hostess vs. a host?

No, the duties are typically the same, regardless of gender.

Do the terms have different connotations?

'Hostess' can carry traditional, gender-specific connotations.

Is it outdated to use 'hostess'?

Some consider it outdated; 'host' is more commonly used now.

Can women be referred to as 'hosts'?

Yes, 'host' can be gender-neutral and used for women.

Can 'hostess' sometimes refer to a snack or dessert host?

Yes, in some contexts, 'hostess' can refer to female servers of light refreshments.

In broadcasting, is 'hostess' commonly used?

In broadcasting, 'host' is more commonly used for all genders.

Has the usage of 'hostess' declined?

Yes, there has been a decline in favor of the gender-neutral 'host.'

Is it more professional to use 'host'?

Using 'host' is often seen as more professional and inclusive.

Should job titles specify 'host' or 'hostess'?

Modern job titles tend to use 'host' to be gender-inclusive.

Should children's parties have a 'host' or 'hostess'?

Either term can be used depending on the gender of the organizer.

Can 'hostess' imply service staff at restaurants?

Yes, it often refers to female staff greeting and seating patrons.

Can 'host' apply to online services?

Yes, 'host' applies to providers of online services or spaces.

Can businesses choose to only use 'host'?

Yes, many businesses now use 'host' for both male and female employees.

Do both terms share the same historical origin?

Yes, 'hostess' is the feminine form of the term 'host.'

Is there a pay difference between a host and hostess?

Ideally, pay is based on the role, not gender, though disparities can exist.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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