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  • First attested in early 15th century.

From Middle English accompanien, from Old French acompagner (to associate with), from compaing (companion), nominative singular of compaignon (companion). See company.


  • IPA(key): /əˈkʌm.pə.ni/, /əˈkʌ
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ac‧com‧pa‧ny


accompany (third-person singular simple present accompanies, present participle accompanying, simple past and past participle accompanied)

  1. (transitive) To go with or attend as a companion or associate; to keep company with; to go along with.
    Geoffrey accompanied the group on their pilgrimage.
    • 1804, Richard Glover, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      The Persian dames, […] / In sumptuous cars, accompanied his march.
    • 1581, Philip Sidney, An Apology of Poetry, or a Defense of Poesy, Book I:
      They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.
    • 1979, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England:
      He was accompanied by two carts filled with wounded rebels.
  2. (transitive) To supplement with; add to.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter V, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights, [] , the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.
  3. (intransitive, music) To perform an accompanying part or parts in a composition.
  4. (transitive, music) To perform an accompanying part next to (another instrument or musician).
    The strings were accompanied by two woodwinds.
    I will accompany her on the oboe.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To associate in a company; to keep company.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To cohabit (with). (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To cohabit with; to coexist with; occur with.
  8. To be found at the same time.
    Thunder almost always accompanies lightning during a rain storm.

Usage notes[edit]

(to go with): Traditionally, persons were said to be accompanied by, and inanimate objects, states or conditions were said to be accompanied with. However, this distinction is not generally observed today, and by is becoming predominant.


  • We accompany those with whom we go as companions. The word imports an equality of station.
  • We attend those whom we wait upon or follow. The word conveys an idea of subordination.
  • We escort those whom we attend with a view to guard and protect.
    A gentleman accompanies a friend to some public place; he attends or escorts a lady.

Derived terms[edit]


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