Last modified on 7 February 2015, at 12:52



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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 translation of a Germanic word, probably Frankish *galaibo, *gahlaibo (messmate, literally with-bread), from *hlaib (loaf, bread). Compare also Old High German galeipo (messmate), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐌱𐌰 (gahlaiba, messmate), Old Armenian ընկեր (ənker, friend, literally messmate). More at co-, loaf.


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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.
    • Shakespeare
      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. (astronomy) A celestial object that is associated with another.
  8. A knight of the lowest rank in certain orders.
    a companion of the Bath
  9. (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.