frat·​er·​nize | \ ˈfra-tər-ˌnīz How to pronounce fraternize (audio) \
fraternized; fraternizing

Definition of fraternize

intransitive verb

1 : to associate or mingle as brothers or on fraternal terms fraternized with the other guests at the party
2a : to associate on close terms with members of a hostile group especially when contrary to military orders were ordered not to fraternize with the enemy
b : to be friendly or amiable

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fraternize

fraternization \ ˌfra-​tər-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce fraternization (audio) \ noun
fraternizer \ ˈfra-​tər-​ˌnī-​zər How to pronounce fraternizer (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Both fraternize and fraternal (meaning "of, relating to, or involving brothers") come to us, by way of Medieval Latin, from Latin frater, meaning "brother." Other frater descendants in English include friar, fraternity, and confraternity ("a society devoted especially to a religious or charitable cause"). Even brother itself shares a relationship with frater. These days, although fraternize can still refer to a brotherly association or simple friendliness, it often occurs in contexts, such as fraternizing with the enemy, implying friendliness toward someone who would be better avoided.

Examples of fraternize in a Sentence

It is usually unwise to fraternize with your employees. don't fraternize just with people of the same race, religion, or social background

Recent Examples on the Web

This was, in fact, the first time that a young, semiunderground, and, by all accounts, cool designer has ever stepped in front of a Bravo TV camera to fraternize with the Housewives. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "The Real Housewives of New York City," 21 Mar. 2019 For many in the West, the idea of generals and admirals fraternizing with chief executives and other elites is the stuff of nightmares. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, "Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Military-Industrial Complex," 2 Jan. 2019 Thanks to the probiotic trend that’s emerged over the past few years—and miracle tonic kombucha serving as its fizzy fuel—fraternizing with the bacteria that lives in our microbiome (yes, all 100 trillion of them) has become relatively normal. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Probiotic Skin Care Is Actually Worth It, According to Experts—and Here's Why," 8 Jan. 2019 The sequence of events seems essentially right, except for the quaint idea that Bobby—or anybody else who read a newspaper or gossip column over the previous twenty years—was unaware of Sinatra’s fraternizing with the Mob. Lee Server, Town & Country, "The Real Reason Frank Sinatra Was Banned from the Kennedy White House," 7 Nov. 2018 Last month’s unprecedented cease-fire by both sides had offered a rare glimpse of peace for Afghans during which militants fraternized with members of the security forces. Rahim Faiez, The Seattle Times, "Afghan officials: IS bomber kills 20, Taliban kill 9 police," 17 July 2018 Ending the rule that says cheerleaders are not allowed to fraternize with players. Molly Knight, Marie Claire, "NFL Cheerleaders Shamed for Being Too Sexy—and Not Having Sex at All," 1 May 2018 In one landmark case, Guardsmark LLC, a nationwide company that provided security guards banned its employees from fraternizing on or off-duty, dating or becoming overly friendly with coworkers or the company's clients. Anchorage Daily News, "I’m dating a coworker who I don’t work with directly. Can my company legally require us to stop?," 7 May 2018 Policies that ban coworkers from fraternizing may face legal challenges. Anchorage Daily News, "I’m dating a coworker who I don’t work with directly. Can my company legally require us to stop?," 7 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of fraternize

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fraternize

Listen to Our Podcast about fraternize

Statistics for fraternize

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fraternize

The first known use of fraternize was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fraternize



English Language Learners Definition of fraternize

: to be friendly with someone : to spend time with someone in a friendly way especially when it is considered wrong or improper to do so

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fraternize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fraternize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fraternize

Spanish Central: Translation of fraternize

Nglish: Translation of fraternize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fraternize

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


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!