\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

Definition of friend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem She's my best friend.
2a : one that is not hostile Is he a friend or an enemy?
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group showbiz friends
3 : one that favors or promotes something (such as a charity) this trend has alarmed friends of the liberal arts— Raymond Walters The friends of the library will host a fund-raiser.
4 : a favored companion
5 capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war

called also Quaker

be friends with
: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with


friended; friending; friends

Definition of friend (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to act as the friend of : befriend
2 : to include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a person's social networking site

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Other Words from friend


friendless \ ˈfren(d)-​ləs How to pronounce friendless (audio) \ adjective
friendlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for friend

Synonyms: Noun

alter ego, amigo, buddy, chum, compadre, comrade, confidant, confidante, crony, familiar, intimate, mate [chiefly British], musketeer, pal

Antonyms: Noun

enemy, foe

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What's the difference between friends and acquaintances?

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).

Examples of friend in a Sentence


… 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 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 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 I'd like you to meet my friend. He's no friend of mine.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There were more ominous signs, strange behavior on the part of people who should have known better, friends and strangers alike revealing information about themselves that should have been kept under lock and key for at least a lifetime. Dalia Rosenfeld,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: If You Will Not Shave This Rabbit, He Will Get Stoned," 20 July 2019 Americans are entering adulthood today who’ve never known a time when loved ones and friends and classmates didn’t come home wounded or dead, year after year. Lincoln Chafee,, "Lincoln Chafee: The party of peace: Why I joined the Libertarian Party," 19 July 2019 July 11, 2019Gordon O'Hara, husband, dad, grandpa, friend and band director/music teacher went home to be with the Lord, Thursday evening July 11, 2019., "Deaths in Central Florida: 7/18," 18 July 2019 The clip definitely accomplishes that mission, with Hayley awakening to find her friends are still there, even when the girl of her dreams has faded into thin air. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Hayley Kiyoko Released the Video for Her New Single “I Wish”," 18 July 2019 As part of that business, the victim recently broke ties with a friend and owed him money from a recent fundraiser., "Man says home intruders knocked him out, robbed him: University Heights police blotter," 17 July 2019 With the passing late last year of longtime Comic-Con President John Rogers, who always led the session, there will be a memorial where friends and colleagues will honor Rogers’ memory. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Comic-Con 2019: 50 things to see at this year’s Comic-Con," 17 July 2019 As part of Make Music Day, a celebration of music around the world, the Nat King Cole Generation Hope Summer Strings program had its finale concert at Lynn University in Boca Raton with over 250 family, friends and community members in attendance. Kari Barnett,, "Students wrap Summer Strings session with finale concert," 16 July 2019 My good friend John Goodson is a profoundly talented artist and model builder. Anna Goldwater Alexander, WIRED, "Photographer Dan Winters on His Apollo Obsession," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trujillo, 35, is alleged to have sent pictures of his genitalia and videos of him masturbating after friending a 16-year-old on Instagram and Snapchat in March 2018, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by MMA Junkie. Steven Marrocco, MMA Junkie, "DA: Ex-UFC fighter Abel Trujillo sent genitalia photos, masturbation videos to 16-year-old girl," 18 July 2019 The two hung out at the event, alongside a whole bunch of other people Jeffree is no longer friends with. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "A Definitive Timeline of James Charles and Jeffree Star's Friendship and Messy Feud," 14 May 2019 Like the Clarks, the Missigs have a track friends network that has expanded to include people across the country. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "How some NASCAR fans are building friendships by taking life on the road," 18 June 2018 But unlike her It girl friends Kendall and Gigi, Hailey doesn’t have a go-to signature look. Tina Ferraro, Teen Vogue, "The Beauty Evolution of Hailey Baldwin: From Girl-Next-Door to Major Model," 10 July 2018 Finally tonight, don't forget to friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @judge_jeanine. Fox News, "Judge Jeanine: The rise of socialism," 1 July 2018 The couples friended each other on Facebook and swapped contact information. Hannah Natanson,, "A storm was ruining this beach wedding. Then a total stranger made the bride an offer," 12 July 2018 The couples friended each other on Facebook and swapped contact information. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "A storm was ruining this beach wedding. Then a total stranger made the bride an offer.," 12 July 2018 The next event will be July 9—tonight—and will have a speed-friending theme. Andrea Thompson, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Books / Visual Art / Gender Issues / LGBTQ+ Nerds unite at Challengers for Women’s Comics Night," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'friend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of friend


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for friend

Noun and Verb

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

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More Definitions for friend



English Language Learners 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)


\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

Kids Definition of friend

1 : a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person
2 : a person who is not an enemy friend or foe
3 : a person who helps or supports something She was a friend to environmental causes.

Other Words from friend

friendless \ -​ləs \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on friend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with friend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for friend

Spanish Central: Translation of friend

Nglish: Translation of friend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of friend for Arabic Speakers

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