1 of 2


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

called also Quaker

: a person included in a list of one's designated connections (see connection entry 3) on a social media service
A 2012 study found that 57 percent of couples stay Facebook friends after a breakup …Caitlin Dewey
friendless adjective
friendlessness noun


2 of 2


friended; friending; friends

transitive verb

: to act as the friend of : befriend
: to include (someone) in one's list of designated friends on a social media service
I became more discerning with who I friended on social media.Victoria Song
For me, Facebook is about staying in touch with people I care about. … But my kids see it differently, as a more casual connection. Hence, my son, who recently turned 21, has 1,000-plus friends. He has apparently friended everyone on God's green earth except his mother.Bella English
be friends with
: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

Did you know?

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, The 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Whether used to pack and travel with all of your gifts for friends and family or to bring back some extra souvenirs on your next trip, consider buying a set while they’re marked down during Cyber Monday. Alexandra Domrongchai, Travel + Leisure, 26 Nov. 2023 To honor her friend and Today with Hoda & Jenna co-host on her special day, Kotb, 59, shared a photo of herself flipping through the pages of Bush Hager’s August PEOPLE cover. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 26 Nov. 2023 Topkapi Saray Mu From birthday cakes to Thanksgiving turkeys to Fourth of July barbecues, food and its attendant rituals bring friends and family together in a way nothing else can. Ted Loos, Robb Report, 26 Nov. 2023 Balboa Park December Nights Head to Balboa Park this Friday and Saturday for December Nights, a free holiday festival for families and friends. San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Nov. 2023 The left side of the courtroom was filled with more than a dozen family members, coworkers and friends of the Buteau family, some of whom said the Buteaus are no longer engaged or interested in politics. Scott MacFarlane, CBS News, 26 Nov. 2023 So this is [about] getting moving again and seeing friends. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 26 Nov. 2023 All my friends from my primary school were going to go to different schools anyway. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Nov. 2023 The Gossip Girl cast was in L.A. for a Television Critics Association event, so Schwartz and Savage threw a party for the cast and their friends at Canter’s Deli. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 25 Nov. 2023
But that isn’t going to stop Ira from cooking himself and friends an ambitious birthday feast. The Bon Appétit Staff & Contributors, Bon Appétit, 7 Sep. 2023 Are Irina and Micah still friends? Vulture, 4 Apr. 2023 Please, don't friend me again. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 15 Apr. 2022 With the crew in the dinghy and life raft, Rodriguez sent a text message to friend Tommy Joyce, a sailor whose boat was about 180 miles behind on the same route, as a safety precaution.. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2023 The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and friend Al Jardine. Paul Grein, Billboard, 12 Jan. 2023 Even with bars and restaurants back open, Lexi’s Wine List is still going strong, with everything from corporate clients hosting virtual tastings for remote teams across the country to friend groups contracting her for a birthday party. Good Housekeeping, 6 Sep. 2022 The man asked students for their phone numbers and to friend them on social media. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 1 Sep. 2022 The couple entered the reception and began their first dance to friend Jack Garratt playing a rendition of Sunday Kind of Love by Etta James, backed by the band. Alexandra MacOn, Vogue, 14 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'friend.' 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 and Verb

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

First Known Use


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near friend

Cite this Entry

“Friend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another
: a person who is not an enemy
are you friend or foe
: a person who aids or favors something
capitalized : a member of a Christian group that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war
friendless adjective
friendlessness noun


2 of 2 verb
: to act as the friend of : befriend
: to include (a name) in a list of designated friends on one's social networking site

More from Merriam-Webster on friend

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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