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From Middle English companion, from Old French compaignon (companion) (modern French compagnon), from Late Latin compāniōn- (nominative singular compāniō, whence French copain), from com- +‎ pānis (literally, with + bread), a word first attested in the Frankish Lex Salica as a calque of a Germanic word, probably Frankish *galaibo, *gahlaibō (messmate, literally with-bread), from Proto-Germanic *gahlaibô. Compare also Old High German galeipo (messmate) and Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐌱𐌰 (gahlaiba, messmate); and, for the semantics, compare Old Armenian ընկեր (ənker, friend, literally messmate). More at co-, loaf. Displaced native Old English gesiþ.


  • IPA(key): /kəmˈpænjən/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: com‧pan‧ion


companion (plural companions)

  1. A friend, acquaintance, or partner; someone with whom one spends time or keeps company
    His dog has been his trusted companion for the last five years.
    • 2017 September 27, David Browne, "Hugh Hefner, 'Playboy' Founder, Dead at 91," Rolling Stone
      For the most part, Hefner's female companions all adhered to the same mold: twentysomething, bosomy and blonde. "Well, I guess I know what I like," he once said when asked about his preferences.
    • (Can we date this quote by Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Here are your sons again; and I must lose / Two of the sweetest companions in the world.
  2. (dated) A person employed to accompany or travel with another.
  3. (nautical) The framework on the quarterdeck of a sailing ship through which daylight entered the cabins below.
  4. (nautical) The covering of a hatchway on an upper deck which leads to the companionway; the stairs themselves.
  5. (topology) A knot in whose neighborhood another, specified knot meets every meridian disk.
  6. (figuratively) A thing or phenomenon that is closely associated with another thing, phenomenon, or person.
  7. (attributive) An appended source of media or information, designed to be used in conjunction with and to enhance the main material.
    The companion guide gives an in-depth analysis of this particular translation.
  8. (astronomy) A celestial object that is associated with another.
  9. A knight of the lowest rank in certain orders.
    a companion of the Bath
  10. (obsolete, derogatory) A fellow; a rogue.


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companion (third-person singular simple present companions, present participle companioning, simple past and past participle companioned)

  1. (obsolete) To be a companion to; to attend on; to accompany.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ruskin to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete) To qualify as a companion; to make equal.
    • (Can we date this quote by William Shakespeare and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Companion me with my mistress.