Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈfrend\

Simple Definition of friend

  • : a person who you like and enjoy being with

  • : a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of friend

  1. 1 a :  one attached to another by affection or esteem b :  acquaintance

  2. 2 a :  one that is not hostile b :  one that is of the same nation, party, or group

  3. 3 :  one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)

  4. 4 :  a favored companion

  5. 5 capitalized :  a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker

friendless play \ˈfren(d)-ləs\ adjective
friendlessness noun
be friends with
  1. :  to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

Examples of friend in a sentence

  1. … she … got a job, made friends and managed to write a novel that hit the best-seller lists and stayed there … —Garrison Keillor, New York Times Book Review, 11 June 2006

  2. Over the last couple of years I have experienced moments of disbelief when I meet my friends in public. They look older than I think they should. —Alice Munro, In the Stacks, 2002

  3. Never had a friend like that before or since. Never laughed so hard in my life as I did with Manny. —Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997

  4. I'd like you to meet my friend.

  5. He's no friend of mine.

Acquaintances and friends

People often distinguish between an acquaintance and a friend, holding that the former should be used primarily to refer to someone with whom one is not especially close. Many of the earliest uses of acquaintance were in fact in reference to a person with whom one was very close, but the word is now generally reserved for those who are known only slightly.

Acquaintance is often found paired with nodding. Although nodding acquaintance sounds like it describes a person who is known just enough to nod at, it tends to be used instead to refer to a thing or field with which one has a small amount of knowledge or familiarity (and this is the meaning that the phrase has had since its introduction to the language in the early 19th century).

Origin of friend

Middle English frend, from Old English frēond; akin to Old High German friunt friend, Old English frēon to love, frēo free

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with friend



verb \ˈfrend\

Definition of friend

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to act as the friend of :  befriend

  3. 2 :  to include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a person's social networking site

Origin of friend

(see 1friend)

First Known Use: 13th century

FRIEND Defined for Kids


noun \ˈfrend\

Definition of friend for Students

  1. 1 :  a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person

  2. 2 :  a person who is not an enemy <friend or foe>

  3. 3 :  a person who helps or supports something <She was a friend to environmental causes.>

friendless \-ləs\ adjective

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up friend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to dishevel or rumple

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce disapprove perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.