friend

1 of 2

noun

plural friends
1
a
: one attached to another by affection or esteem
She's my best friend.
2
a
: 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
Friend : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war

called also Quaker

6
: 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

friend

2 of 2

verb

friended; friending; friends

transitive verb

1
: to act as the friend of : befriend
2
: 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
Phrases
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).

Example Sentences

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
Noun
Fiona, the Marchioness of Lansdowne: a close friend and interior designer. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Nov. 2022 Longtime friend and collaborator Jackson emphatically disagreed. Christi Carrasstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2022 The movement has grown into a website, People Not Mascots, which Lily Joy launched with her friend and coder Sofia Ongele. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 29 Nov. 2022 Working with Gavin Friday, his childhood friend and U2’s longtime creative director, the goal was to craft a stage show worthy of a Broadway run. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2022 Ross Hancock died Sunday at her home in Manhattan, friend and former Warner Bros. executive Luke Fontneau announced. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Nov. 2022 Rapper Pusha T shared his perspective on friend and longtime collaborator Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic remarks, which included hateful comments about the Jewish community and problematic conspiracy theories. Ej Panaligan, Variety, 28 Nov. 2022 Longtime friend and collaborator of writer-director Rian Johnson, Noah Segan, is also in both movies — playing two different characters. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 24 Nov. 2022 They were joined by Diego Oliverio, Simpson’s friend and occasional videographer. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 24 Nov. 2022
Verb
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 To complete his transformation into Inspector Campbell, the actor turned to friend Liam Neeson. Janaya Wecker, Town & Country, 10 June 2022 Somewhere Good, a platform for audio discussion that launched last month, doesn’t allow users to send each other direct messages or follow or friend each other to minimize abuse and social comparison. Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, 4 May 2022 The source for this misconception is a letter from Arendt’s teacher and friend the philosopher Karl Jaspers on December 13, 1963. Seyla Benhabib, The New York Review of Books, 24 Feb. 2022 Elizabeth Leach, left, and Lo Peterson, right, talk to friend Sam Jeet about their recent trips, while sitting in the living room of Lo's home. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Apr. 2022 Also introduced into evidence was a WhatsApp message dated January 20, 2020, from Bryan to friend, read aloud in court. Pamela Kirkland, CNN, 16 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

Noun

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

Verb

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friend. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

friend 1 of 2

noun

1
: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another
2
: a person who is not an enemy
are you friend or foe
3
: a person who aids or favors something
4
capitalized : a member of a Christian group that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war
friendless adjective
friendlessness noun

friend

2 of 2

verb

1
: to act as the friend of : befriend
2
: to include (a name) in a list of designated friends on one's social networking site

More from Merriam-Webster on friend

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