\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

Essential Meaning of friend

1 : a person who you like and enjoy being with I'd like you to meet my friend. She is such a good/close/dear friend (of mine). See More ExamplesWe're fast friends. = We're the best of friends. He's no friend of mine. He has always been a good friend to me. [=he has always helped or supported me as a good friend should] She's my best friend. [=my closest friend] We are childhood friends. [=we have been friends since we were children] old friends [=people who have been friends for a long time] She is an old family friend. = She is an old friend of the family. [=she has known and spent time with the family over many years] We are just friends. [=we are not in a romantic relationship] He wants to be friends with my younger sister. [=he wants to be my sister's friend] She is best friends with my younger sister. [=she is my youngest sister's closest friend]Hide
2 : a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity) She is a friend of the environment. [=she supports environmental causes] The strikers knew they had a friend in the senator. [=knew that the senator supported them] Are you friend or foe? [=do you support us or oppose us?]
3 : quaker

Full 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 friend (audio) \ adjective
friendlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for friend

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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

Noun … 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 Encased in this padding, Paulson manages the daunting accomplishment of humanizing Tripp who, like Lewinsky, was at the time treated as a caricature, a frumpy turncoat who took advantage of her naïve friend. oregonlive, 5 Sep. 2021 The timing is significant, because two of the drama’s characters are listening to it while mourning the loss of their mutual friend, who committed suicide with his lover. Joan Macdonald, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 Durst, 78, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the point-blank shooting of his friend, Susan Berman, in her Los Angeles home in December 2000. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 2 Sep. 2021 After she double-crosses Monica, Linda is seen fretting about the well-being of her friend, but more or less remains a monster by the end of the episodes, at least in the seven chapters (of 10) screened for critics. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 Enlist a friend or family member to act as the patient’s advocate. Mary Jacobs, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2021 According to court documents, Morris assumed the identity of his friend, Eddie Green, after Green died in 1966. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, 25 Aug. 2021 Gaetz is under investigation as part of a probe that led to the arrest and plea deal of his close friend, Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector., 22 Aug. 2021 Guerrero described his own unfathomable amount of pain and grief at the death of his longtime close friend. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pair have also shared a beachfront villa next door to friend George Clooney in Los Cabos, Mexico. Nicholas Rice,, 5 Jan. 2021 With those two gone, the show is down to only five cast members — plus Sutton Stracke, who was demoted from Housewife to friend almost as quickly as she was hired. Ineye Komonibo,, 26 Oct. 2020 This destination is ideal for any type of traveler, from couples to friend groups to families. Molly O'brien, Travel + Leisure, 13 June 2020 Shandling would quickly go from Apatow's boss and idol to friend. Derek Lawrence,, 11 June 2020 The Leslie Knope of 2020 multitasks through our global pandemic, phone-a-friending all her old co-workers from her office at the Department of the Interior. Darren Franich,, 1 May 2020 Yaide plans to return to his apartment in the Mission District, which friends maintained during his time in detention, Carmona-Cruz said. Tatiana Sanchez,, 16 Apr. 2020 The Queen of Hearts rules Wonderland and gives Alice and friends a hard time. Francisco Guzman And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, 28 Feb. 2020 For insight into prospective jurors’ thinking, lawyers have taken to scouring their public social media postings, Hoffmeister said, which is fine under court rules as long as the lawyers don’t follow or friend them or send them messages. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2020

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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Learn More About friend

Time Traveler for friend

Time Traveler

The first known use of friend was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near friend



friend at court

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Statistics for friend

Last Updated

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Friend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for friend


\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

Kids Definition of friend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


friended; friending

Kids Definition of friend (Entry 2 of 2)

: to include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a social networking site

More from Merriam-Webster on friend

Nglish: Translation of friend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of friend for Arabic Speakers


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