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From Middle English felowe, felawe, felage, from Old Norse félagi (fellow, companion, associate, shareholder, colleague), from félag (partnership, literally a laying together of property), from the Germanic bases of two words represented in English by fee and law. Cognate with Scots falow, fallow, follow (associate, comrade, companion), Danish fælle (companion), Norwegian felle (companion), Faroese felagi (member, partner), Icelandic félagi (comrade, mate).



fellow (plural fellows)

  1. (obsolete) A colleague or partner.
  2. (archaic) A companion; a comrade.
  3. A man without good breeding or worth; an ignoble or mean man.
  4. An equal in power, rank, character, etc.
  5. One of a pair, or of two things used together or suited to each other; a mate.
  6. (attributive) A person with common characteristics, being of the same kind, or in the same group.
    Roger and his fellow workers are to go on strike.
    my fellow Americans
    • 1888, James Francis Hogan, The Irish in Australia
      writing a history of my fellow-countrymen in Australasia
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 68:
      My fellow passengers are a mixture of people returning from a day out in the capital, locals doing short hops, and a few (like me) heading farther afield.
  7. (colloquial) A male person; a man.
    • 1910, Saki, ‘The Strategist’, Reginald in Russia:
      ‘There'll be about ten girls,’ speculated Rollo, as he drove to the function, ‘and I suppose four fellows, unless the Wrotsleys bring their cousin, which Heaven forbid.’
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. []
  8. (rare) A person; an individual, male or female.
  9. (Britain slang, obsolete) Synonym of schoolmate: a student at the same school.
  10. A rank or title in the professional world, usually given as "Fellow".
    1. In the English universities, a scholar who is appointed to a foundation called a fellowship, which gives a title to certain perquisites and privileges.
    2. In an American college or university, a member of the corporation which manages its business interests; also, a graduate appointed to a fellowship, who receives the income of the foundation.
    3. A member of a literary or scientific society
      a Fellow of the Royal Society
    4. The most senior rank or title one can achieve on a technical career in certain companies (though some Fellows also hold business titles such as Vice President or Chief Technology Officer). This is typically found in large corporations in research and development-intensive industries (IBM or Sun Microsystems in information technology, and Boston Scientific in Medical Devices for example). They appoint a small number of senior scientists and engineers as Fellows.
    5. In the US and Canada, a physician who is undergoing a supervised, sub-specialty medical training (fellowship) after completing a specialty training program (residency).
  11. (Aboriginal English) Used as a general intensifier
    • 1991, Jimmy Chi, Bran Nue Dae, in Heiss & Minter, Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, Allen & Unwin 2008, p. 137:
      This fella song all about the Aboriginal people, coloured people, black people longa Australia.

Usage notes[edit]

In North America, fellow is less likely to be used for a man in general in comparison to other words that have the same purpose. Nevertheless, it is still used by some. In addition, it has a good bit of use as an academic or medical title or membership.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms[edit]


fellow (third-person singular simple present fellows, present participle fellowing, simple past and past participle fellowed)

  1. To suit with; to pair with; to match.