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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).


  • enPR: bĭfrĕnd, IPA(key): /bɪˈfɹɛnd/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


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, Jonathan Swift, Directions to Servants
      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, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
      If it will please Caesar / To be so good to Caesar, as to hear me, / I shall beseech him to befriend himself.
    • 1709, John Denham "The Sophy", in Poems and translations: with the Sophy, a tragedy, Fifth edition [1]
      Now if your plots be ripe, you are befriended / With opportunity.
    • 1709, Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
      Be thou the first true merit to befriend; / His praise is lost, who stays till all commend.
    • 1712, Joseph Addison, Cato: A tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's servants, Act II, edited and published by Jacob Tonson (1733)
      See them embarked, And tell me if the winds and seas befriend them.
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, ch. 4, "Morrison's Pill"
      This Universe has its Laws. If we walk according to the Law, the Law-Maker will befriend us; if not, not.


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