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noun (1)

com·​pan·​ion kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio)
plural companions
often attributive
: one that accompanies another : comrade, associate
traveling companions
also : one that keeps company with another
his longtime companion
obsolete : rascal
: one that is closely connected with something similar
The book is a companion to the television series with the same title.
: one employed to live with and serve another
We hired a companion for our elderly mother.
: a celestial body that appears close to another but that may or may not be associated with it in space
: a book, manual, etc., that provides information or advice about a particular subject
a companion to French New Wave cinema
used in titles
The Gardener's Companion


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companioned; companioning; companions

transitive verb

: accompany
Anne sat long at her window that night companioned by a glad content.Lucy Maud Montgomery

intransitive verb

: to keep company (see company entry 1 sense 1a)
fellows that he'd companioned with many years ago


3 of 3

noun (2)

: a hood covering at the top of a companionway

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History of Companion

You may be a companion to someone without eating with that person, but etymologically you are sharing a meal with them. The word companion ultimately comes from the Latin com- (“with”) and panis (“bread, food”). The ingestible aspect of this word is reminiscent of symposium, which may be traced to the Greek word sympinein, meaning “to drink together.” But just as you may be a companion to someone without eating, you may also attend a symposium without drinking.

Examples of companion in a Sentence

Verb movie heroes are often companioned by wisecracking sidekicks
Recent Examples on the Web
The last couple of years have seen menswear evolve away from collections designed as companions to women’s lineups into a highly directional category. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 11 Sep. 2023 In the movie, Phoenix’s character develops a friendship with an advanced artificial-intelligence companion, voiced by Johansson, that eventually deepens into a bizarre love. Paige Hagy, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2023 Good companions for early-flowering bulbs are late-sprouting perennials, so that by the time the bulbs are looking ragged and losing foliage for summer dormancy, the perennial is hiding it with fresh foliage. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 7 Sep. 2023 There's a companion app to self-report your results. Medea Giordano, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 Detroit Free Press Dear Amy: A year ago, my mother-in-law’s live-in companion died by suicide. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 6 Sep. 2023 Turns out, your companions aren’t really that into you. Ash Parrish, The Verge, 5 Sep. 2023 Sauna lakeside with my happiness-seeking companions, or relax on my own. Melissa Peterson, Travel + Leisure, 4 Sep. 2023 Employee cards can open the same gate over and over, so companions can also ride for free. Globe Staff,, 1 Sep. 2023
Muti has companioned with many composers throughout his life, but maybe especially with Mozart and Verdi. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 14 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'companion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English compainoun, from Anglo-French cumpaing, cumpaignun, from Late Latin companion-, companio, from Latin com- + panis bread, food — more at food

Noun (2)

by folk etymology from Dutch kampanje poop deck

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1622, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of companion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near companion

Cite this Entry

“Companion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
com·​pan·​ion kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio)
: one that often accompanies another : comrade
: one of a pair of matching things
: a person employed to live with and serve another


2 of 2 noun


Middle English compainoun "companion," from early French cumpaignun (same meaning), from Latin companion-, companio "companion," literally, "one who eats with another," from com- "with, together" and panis "food, bread" — related to accompany, company, pantry

More from Merriam-Webster on companion

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