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From be- +‎ friend. Compare Saterland Frisian befrüündje (to befriend), Dutch bevrienden (to befriend), German Low German befründen (to befriend), German befreunden (to befriend).





befriend (third-person singular simple present befriends, present participle befriending, simple past and past participle befriended)

  1. (transitive) To become a friend of, to make friends with.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, p. 143.
      Every little pine needle expanded and swelled with sympathy and befriended me.
    • 1989, Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker, page 52:
      Befriending one of the 112 managing directors was not enough; you had to befriend a managing director with clout. There was one small problem, of course. Bosses were not always eager to befriend trainees.
    • 1999, Jonathan Cole, About Face, page 121:
      "We had a professional relationship, whereas the previous vicar was a friend and had befriended me." "Were you available to befriend people? You said it in a passive voice, as though others befriended you.
    • 2002, Jan Yager, When Friendship Hurts, page 47:
      If you want to befriend the Loner, you have to be willing to show patience as he becomes more comfortable with you and what friendship entails.
    • 2005, Philip Burnard, Counselling Skills for Health Professionals, page 2:
      The social worker very clearly befriends the families with whom she works, and the GP becomes a friend to many of his patients.
    • 2006, Christiane Sanderson, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, page 17:
      Child sexual abusers are highly manipulative in their befriending of parents and children and are able to deceive all types of family.
  2. (transitive, dated) To act as a friend to, to assist.
    • 1731 (date written, published 1745), Jonathan Swift, “Directions to Servants”, in Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols, editors, The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, [], new edition, volume XVI, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], published 1801, →OCLC:
      Brother servants must always befriend one another.
    • 1916, Theodore Dreiser, Franklin Booth, A Hoosier Holiday, page 417:
      an Irish section boss, whose wife (my mother having befriended her years before when first she and her husband came to Sullivan) had now, at the time my mother was compelled to make this return pilgrimage, befriended us by letting us stay - mother and us three youngsters - until she could find a house.
    • 1937 May, Popular Mechanics, volume 67, number 5, page 676:
      This particular trainer who had repeatedly befriended "Willie" in many other ways, left the circus for a short time and upon returning to the lot approached him, thinking "Willie" would remember him
    • 1939, Philip Lindsay, A Mirror for Ruffians, page 353:
      He fled to Switzerland to escape military service, and there was befriended by the revolutionary, Angelica Balabanoff, who, pitying him in his misery and loneliness, befriended him, helping him translate a German pamphlet because he did not know the language.
  3. (transitive) To favor.
    • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
      If it will please Caesar / To be so good to Caesar, as to hear me, / I shall beseech him to befriend himself.
    • 1641 (first performance), [John Denham], The Sophy. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[ohn] M[acock] for H[enry] Herringman, [], published 1667, →OCLC, (please specify the page):
      Now if your plots be ripe, you are befriended / With opportunity.
    • 1711 May, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Criticism, London: [] W. Lewis []; and sold by W. Taylor [], T[homas] Osborn[e] [], and J. Graves [], →OCLC:
      Be thou the first true merit to befriend; / His praise is lost, who stays till all commend.
    • 1712 (date written), [Joseph] Addison, Cato, a Tragedy. [], London: [] J[acob] Tonson, [], published 1713, →OCLC, (please specify the page):
      See them embarked, And tell me if the winds and seas befriend them.
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “ch. 4, Morrison’s Pill”, in Past and Present, American edition, Boston, Mass.: Charles C[offin] Little and James Brown, published 1843, →OCLC, (please specify |book=I or IV, or the page):
      This Universe has its Laws. If we walk according to the Law, the Law-Maker will befriend us; if not, not.



Derived terms





  • befriend”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.