\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

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 After visiting Billy in jail, Spike makes one last attempt at saving his friend group and attempts to sneak into the palace. Olivia Truffaut-wong,, "R29 Recaps: Every Episode From The Irregulars Season 1," 30 Mar. 2021 Besides Bailey and a handful of others — like Roth’s friend Judith Thurman, biographer of Isak Dinesen and Colette — few Americans do great work in this genre. New York Times, "Philip Roth Was His Own Favorite Subject. What’s Left for a Biographer?," 30 Mar. 2021 The film winds to a close with a beautiful take on the days after Clark’s death by friend Jo Harvey Allen, an actor/writer/artist. Andrew Dansby, Chron, "Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark gets his due in new documentary," 29 Mar. 2021 To help the family with medical, funeral and travel expenses, a family friend started a fundraiser on Facebook, which so far has raised $5,200. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "'My son died a hero': Mother of Louisville teen shot in Florida says he saved his brother," 26 Mar. 2021 Lynn Murray was at the King Soopers market working for grocery delivery service Instacart and ran into family friend Hope Cotten. CBS News, "Boulder shooting sparks calls for gun control as friends and family mourn victims," 25 Mar. 2021 Beaumont said exceptions only apply if a family member or friend screens negative for symptoms of respiratory infection. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan surge 800% in March among people 40-49 years old," 24 Mar. 2021 In Open Book, Simpson wrote about being abused by a family friend during sleepovers and how her parents were ill-equipped to handle the situation. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Jessica Simpson Says She Was ‘Saddened’ When Nick Lachey Started Dating Vanessa," 23 Mar. 2021 The letters, all sent to family friend Roger Bramble, were written between 1990 and 1997, and spent 24 years stashed in a closet in the Bramble family home. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana's Super Personal Letters Just Sold at Auction For $113,000," 23 Mar. 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,, "Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber Purchase $10 Million Waterfront Miami Beach Home: Source," 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,, "Bravo’s Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Franchise Just Scouted Its Very First Asian American Star," 26 Oct. 2020 This destination is ideal for any type of traveler, from couples to friend groups to families. Molly O'brien, Travel + Leisure, "Visit One of These 8 Western U.S. Destinations for a Taste of Traveling Abroad," 13 June 2020 Shandling would quickly go from Apatow's boss and idol to friend. Derek Lawrence,, "Meet Your Maker: King of Staten Island director Judd Apatow on his biggest influences," 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,, "The Parks and Recreation reunion really was something special: Review," 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,, "Coronavirus: Gay SF man detained multiple times by ICE ordered to be released amid outbreak," 16 Apr. 2020 The Queen of Hearts rules Wonderland and gives Alice and friends a hard time. Francisco Guzman And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "Google Doodle celebrates the man behind the Alice in Wonderland illustrations," 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, "Jury selection in Weinstein case could prove to be drawn-out," 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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Time Traveler for friend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for friend

Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Friend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for friend



English Language Learners Definition of friend

: a person who you like and enjoy being with
: a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)


\ ˈfrend How to pronounce friend (audio) \

Kids Definition of friend

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

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Comments on friend

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