host



People used host as a verb in Shakespeare?s time, but this usage was long obsolete when the verb was reintroduced (or perhaps reinvented) in recent years to mean ?perform the role of a host.? The usage occurs particularly in contexts relating to institutional gatherings or television and radio shows, where the person performing the role of host has not personally invited the guests. People first resisted this usage perhaps because the verb involves a suspect extension of the traditional concept of hospitality. In a 1968 survey, only 18 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the usage in the sentence The Cleveland chapter will host this year?s convention. Over time, however, the usage has become increasingly well established and has the useful purpose of describing the activities of one who performs the ceremonial or practical role of a host, as in arranging a conference or welcoming guests. In our 1986 survey, 53 percent of the panelists accepted the usage in the phrase a reception hosted by the Secretary of State. People are less inclined to accept host when it used to describe the role of a performer who acts as a master of ceremonies for a broadcast or film, where the relation of host to the notion of ?hospitality? is stretched still further. Only 31 percent of the panel accepted the use of the verb in the sentence Students have watched Sex, Drugs and AIDS, a graphic film hosted by actress Rae Dawn Chong.    1
cohost.  The verb cohost is also well established to refer to those who collaborate in assuming responsibility for an occasion. Fifty-eight percent of the Usage Panel accepted this use in the sentence The Department of Architecture and the Department of History will be cohosting a reception for conference participants.    2




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