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From Middle English companye (a team; companionship), from Old French compaignie (companionship) (Modern French: compagnie), possibly from Late Latin *compania, but this word is not attested. Old French compaignie is equivalent to Old French compaignon (Modern French: compagnon) + -ie. More at companion.



company (countable and uncountable, plural companies)

  1. A team; a group of people who work together professionally.
    1. A group of individuals who work together for a common purpose.
      A company of actors.
    2. (military) A unit of approximately sixty to one hundred and twenty soldiers, typically consisting of two or three platoons and forming part of a battalion.
      the boys in Company C
      • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 30, in The Dust of Conflict:
        It was by his order the shattered leading company flung itself into the houses when the Sin Verguenza were met by an enfilading volley as they reeled into the calle.
    3. A unit of firefighters and their equipment.
      It took six companies to put out the fire.
    4. (nautical) The entire crew of a ship.
    5. (espionage, informal) An intelligence service.
      As he had worked for the CIA for over 30 years, he would soon take retirement from the company.
  2. (law) An entity having legal personality, and thus able to own property and to sue and be sued in its own name; a corporation.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      [] That woman is stark mad, Lord Stranleigh. [] If she had her way, she’d ruin the company inside a year with her hare-brained schemes; love of the people, and that sort of guff.”
  3. (business) Any business, whether incorporated or not, that manufactures or sells products (also known as goods), or provides services as a commercial venture.
    • 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly[2], volume 188, number 23, page 19:
      In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. [] The public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra-wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.
    • 2013 June 8, “Obama goes troll-hunting”, in The Economist[3], volume 407, number 8839, page 95:
      According to this saga of intellectual-property misanthropy, these creatures [patent trolls] roam the business world, buying up patents and then using them to demand extravagant payouts from companies they accuse of infringing them. Often, their victims pay up rather than face the costs of a legal battle.
  4. (uncountable) Social visitors or companions.
    Keep the house clean; I have company coming.
    • 1742, Charles Wesley (music), “Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown”:
      Come, O thou Traveller unknown, / Whom still I hold, but cannot see! / My company before is gone, / And I am left alone with Thee; / With Thee all night I mean to stay, / And wrestle till the break of day.
    • 1762, Charles Johnstone, The Reverie; or, A Flight to the Paradise of Fools[4], volume 2, Dublin: Printed by Dillon Chamberlaine, OCLC 519072825, page 202:
      At length, one night, when the company by ſome accident broke up much ſooner than ordinary, ſo that the candles were not half burnt out, ſhe was not able to reſiſt the temptation, but reſolved to have them ſome way or other. Accordingly, as ſoon as the hurry was over, and the ſervants, as ſhe thought, all gone to ſleep, ſhe ſtole out of her bed, and went down ſtairs, naked to her ſhift as ſhe was, with a deſign to ſteal them []
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The departure was not unduly prolonged. In the road Mr. Love and the driver favoured the company with a brief chanty running. “Got it?—No, I ain't, 'old on,—Got it? Got it?—No, 'old on sir.”
  5. (uncountable) Companionship.
    I treasure your company.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.



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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.


company (third-person singular simple present companies, present participle companying, simple past and past participle companied)

  1. (archaic, transitive) To accompany, keep company with.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts X:
      Ye dooe knowe howe thatt hytt ys an unlawefull thynge for a man beynge a iewe to company or come unto an alient [...].
    • 1891, Mary Noailles Murfree, In the "Stranger People's" Country, Nebraska 2005, p. 2:
      it was with a distinctly fallen countenance that his father hearkened to his mother's parenthetical request to “’bide hyar an’ company leetle Moses whilst I be a-milkin’ the cow.”
  2. (archaic, intransitive) To associate.
    • Bible, Acts i. 21
      Men which have companied with us all the time.
  3. (obsolete, intransitive) To be a lively, cheerful companion.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To have sexual intercourse.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Hall to this entry?)




company m (plural companys, feminine companya)

  1. companion, colleague
  2. partner, mate

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Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of companye