noun (1), often attributive
com·​pan·​ion | \ kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio) \
plural companions

Definition of companion

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that accompanies another : comrade, associate traveling companions also : one that keeps company with another his longtime companion
2 obsolete : rascal
3a : one that is closely connected with something similar The book is a companion to the television series with the same title.
b : one employed to live with and serve another We hired a companion for our elderly mother.
4 : a celestial body that appears close to another but that may or may not be associated with it in space
5 : 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


companioned; companioning; companions

Definition of companion (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: accompany He is companioned on the trip by his wife.

intransitive verb

: to keep company fellows that he'd companioned with many years ago


noun (2)

Definition of companion (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a hood covering at the top of a companionway

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

First Known Use of companion

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1737, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for companion

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

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Time Traveler for companion

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Companion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for companion


com·​pan·​ion | \ kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio) \

Kids Definition of companion

1 : a person or thing that accompanies another
2 : one of a pair of things that go together The book is the companion to the TV show.
3 : a person employed to live with and assist another

More from Merriam-Webster on companion

Nglish: Translation of companion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of companion for Arabic Speakers


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