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From Middle English felowe, felawe, felage, from Old Norse félagi (companion, associate, shareholder, colleague), from félag (partnership, literally a laying together of property), from the Germanic bases of two words represented in English by fee and law.



fellow (plural fellows)

  1. (obsolete) A colleague or partner.
  2. (archaic) A companion; a comrade.
    • Milton
      the fellows of his crime
    • Shakespeare
      We are fellows still, / Serving alike in sorrow.
    • Gibbon
      That enormous engine was flanked by two fellows almost of equal magnitude.
  3. A man without good breeding or worth; an ignoble or mean man.
    • Alexander Pope
      Worth makes the man, and want of it, the fellow.
  4. An equal in power, rank, character, etc.
    • Shakespeare
      It is impossible that ever Rome / Should breed thy fellow.
  5. One of a pair, or of two things used together or suited to each other; a mate.
    • Holland
      When they be but heifers of one year, [] they are let go to the fellow and breed.
    • Shakespeare
      This was my glove; here is the fellow of it.
  6. (colloquial) A male person; a man.
    • 1910, Saki, ‘The Strategist’, Reginald in Russia:
      ‘There'll be about ten girls,’ speculated Rollo, as he drove to the function, ‘and I suppose four fellows, unless the Wrotsleys bring their cousin, which Heaven forbid.’
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. […]”
  7. (rare) A person; an individual, male or female.
    • Charles Dickens
      She seemed to be a good sort of fellow.
  8. In the English universities, a scholar who is appointed to a foundation called a fellowship, which gives a title to certain perquisites and privileges.
  9. In an American college or university, a member of the corporation which manages its business interests; also, a graduate appointed to a fellowship, who receives the income of the foundation.
  10. A member of a literary or scientific society; as, a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  11. The most senior rank or title one can achieve on a technical career in certain companies (though some fellows also hold business titles such as vice president or chief technology officer). This is typically found in large corporations in research and development-intensive industries (IBM or Sun Microsystems in information technology, and Boston Scientific in Medical Devices for example). They appoint a small number of senior scientists and engineers as Fellows.
  12. In the US and Canada, a physician who is undergoing a supervised, sub-specialty medical training (fellowship) after completing a specialty training program (residency).

Usage notes[edit]

In North America, fellow is less likely to be used for a man in general in comparison to other words that have the same purpose. Nevertheless, it is still used by some. In addition, it has a good bit of use as an academic or medical title or membership.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms[edit]


fellow (not comparable)

  1. Having common characteristics; being of the same kind, or in the same group


fellow (third-person singular simple present fellows, present participle fellowing, simple past and past participle fellowed)

  1. To suit with; to pair with; to match.