Captive vs hostage

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Janka

Senior Member
Slovak
Hi, is a captive more preferred in the USA than in GB? I have never heard the word captive in England, but I have read it in the People magazine.
Cheers
 
  • TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    Hi, Janka. I think we need a little more context to answer your question. In general, I don't think of captive and hostage as being interchangeable. How did People magazine use the word captive? How are you trying to use these words?

    Cheers,
    Elizabeth
     

    Janka

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    I read about captives on a plane on Sept 11. But if i listen to BBC, for instance, if they talk about kidnapped people in Iraq they call them hostages.
     

    Lancearoni

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    You can be held captive.
    You can be held hostage.

    I would say these two uses are both very common.


    However, "The hostages were released" is more common than "the captives were released."


    ...in my experience anyway
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think that the term hostage applies specifically to someone who is held for the purpose of negotiation. A journalist kidnapped in Iraq was offered in trade for the release of Iraqi prisoners, for example. Captive is a more general term for someone held against their will, usually outside of the legal system. A hostage is a kind of captive.
     

    santi

    Member
    colombia-english-spanish
    Kelly B said:
    I think that the term hostage applies specifically to someone who is held for the purpose of negotiation. A journalist kidnapped in Iraq was offered in trade for the release of Iraqi prisoners, for example. Captive is a more general term for someone held against their will, usually outside of the legal system. A hostage is a kind of captive.
    there you go you pinned the tail on the donkey dudette that's exactly what I was gonna say.


    this is.:)
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes. A hostage is always a captive, but a captive is not always a hostage.

    Hostages are held a leverage in order to demand something else. Sometimes money, sometimes other things.

    Captives are held because they are going to be held. There are no demands being made in order to release them.

    Prisoners of war, for example, are captives.
     
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