During the Middle Ages hospitals served different functions to modern institutions, being almshouses for the poor, hostels for pilgrims, or hospital schools.
The word hospital comes from the Latin hospes, signifying a stranger or foreigner, hence a guest. The latter modern word derives from Latin via the ancient French romance word hostel, which developed a silent s, which letter was eventually removed from the word, the loss of which is signified by a circumflex in the modern French word hôtel. The German word 'Spital' shares similar roots.
A hospital, in the modern sense, is an institution for health care providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment, and often, but not always providing for longer-term patient stays. Today, hospitals are usually funded by the public sector, by health organizations (for profit or nonprofit), health insurance companies or charities, including by direct charitable donations.