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 artsRaymond 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).

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
Noun
The club is a place to gather with friends or business acquaintances to have drinks and small bites. The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024 The company granted that request, appointing in his place Michael Seibel, managing director of startup incubator Y Combinator and longtime friend of the cofounders. Paresh Dave, WIRED, 23 Feb. 2024 Hendrick told his crew to first check the addresses of friends of the Crumbleys. Gina Kaufman, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 At the sentencing hearing in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, family members remembered Evans and Boateng as more than co-workers at the senior living community, but close friends who cared for their 10 children, combined. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 Residents can stroll through the Old Florida-style downtown, hunt for shells on the pearly white beaches, or take their furry friends to the city's local dog-friendly beach. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 23 Feb. 2024 On Thursday, the singer and actress, 54, shared a sweet video on Instagram of her children Max and Emme marking their 16th birthday with a vacation filled with family and friends in Japan. Gabrielle Rockson, Peoplemag, 23 Feb. 2024 The truth is, no one has been able to say how many migrants have actually come to Hialeah to reunite with relatives and friends or to find familiarity in a new country. Verónica Egui Brito, Miami Herald, 23 Feb. 2024 Cruz ingested the fake pill while on FaceTime with his closest friends, wanting to share his first experience high with them. Jenna Barackman, Kansas City Star, 23 Feb. 2024
Verb
The fantastical part is the result of a mushroom trip, during which Elliott (Stella), who’s turning 18 and is about to head off to college, gulps hallucinogenic tea with her forever friends Ro (Kerrice Brooks) and Ruthie (Maddie Ziegler). David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Jan. 2024 The snow seal, constructed by Austin and Connor Bartz with help from their father, Dave Bartz, and friends Caleb Kroeze and Seth Hanson, is 21 feet tall, 48 feet long and took 1,200 hours to build. Staff Report, Twin Cities, 20 Jan. 2024 To Jacob's family, friends our community is mourning with you❤️ , and also the family's of the other 7 who have yet to be located. Mosheh Gains, NBC News, 1 Dec. 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 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

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 1 Mar. 2024.

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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