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From Old French compaing, compain, from Late Latin compāniō (nominative form) (compare also Italian compagno), from com- +‎ pānis, literally with-bread, a word first attested in the Frankish Lex Salica as a translation of a Germanic word, probably Frankish *galaibo, *gahlaibo (messmate, literally with-bread), from *hlaib (loaf, bread). See also compagnon, from the accusative form of the same Late Latin term (compāniōnem), from whence also English companion. The boyfriend meaning is by ellipsis of petit copain.


  • IPA(key): /kɔ.pɛ̃/
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copain m (plural copains, feminine copine)

  1. (male) friend, chum, mate (UK), pal, buddy
    Synonym: ami
    • Lorsque les copains se retrouvaient au café du coin, pour boire une bière, taquiner le flipper ou le baby-foot, il n'était accepté que parce qu'il régalait.
      When the mates met up in the café at the corner, to drink a beer, have a go at the pinball machine or the football table, he was only tolerated because he treated them.
  2. (informal, by ellipsis) Ellipsis of petit copain.: boyfriend (boy/man to whom one has a romantic attachment)
    Synonyms: petit ami, ami

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