9 Words for Fellowship

A toast to friendship with the new film TOLKIEN, in theaters May 10th.
1 May 2019

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Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Definition - to associate especially in fellowship or partnership

Consociate is not merely a verb; it also functions as an adjective (“united in fellowship, intimately associated”) and as a noun (“one who is united with another”). It has the Latin word for “companion” (socius) in its origins, as does society, associate, and sociological phenomena.

I was born there; and born thither by a charitable desire of consociating and consorting with my Friends.
— Richard Carpenter, The Anabaptist washt and washt, and shrunk in the washing, 1653

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Definition - brotherhood, community

Sodality, which comes from the Latin word for “comrade” (sodalis), may have a specific religious meaning (“a lay association of the Roman Catholic Church organized for devotional or charitable purposes”). However, the word, in use since the beginning of the 17th century, can also function in non-ecclesiastical formats as well, with meanings such as “a grouping, association, or joining together based on common purpose or interest,” and “an organized society or fellowship.”

Briefly, they entred into a Community & Association of all things, and seem to have been reduc'd into a most perfect manner of  Sodality, Congregation, or Confraternity.
— A. C., Jesus, Mary Joseph, 1657

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Definition - to associate or hold fellowship as sisters

Fraternize (“to associate or mingle as brothers or on fraternal terms”) is somewhat more commonly found than sororize, although there is no evidence that brothers are more prone to mingling or associating than sisters are. While it may be unfair that sororize has not received the degree of use or attention as its sibling word, the benefit is that it has also not picked up any of the negative meanings that fraternize has, such as “to associate on close terms with members of a hostile group especially when contrary to military orders.” No one seems to ever be accused of sororizing with the enemy.

To be privileged to write on the same parchment with a duchess is something distantly like a card to the same duchess’s drum, and Bloomsbury was glad enough to fraternize—we mean sororize—with Belgravia.
Chester Chronicle (Chester, Eng.), 17 Jan. 1863

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Definition - the action of living or dwelling in a place; the action of living, associating, or having dealings with others; those with whom one associates : social circle

When we use the word conversation today it usually is in the sense of “talk,” or “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas.” However, there are a number of other meanings of this word, most of which are now archaic, that deal more with friendship and intimacy than with simple speech; among them are “the action of living, associating, or having dealings with others,” “those with whom one associates,” and, um, “sexual intercourse.” The word comes from the Latin conversari, meaning “to associate with.”

What remained there for Fortune to take from the holy man Iob, after that hee had deprived him of the conversation of his friendes, and cast him upon stincking dunghils?
— Antonion de Guevara, The mysteries of Mount Calvary, 1594

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Definition - the fellowship existing among companions

It can be tempting to try to shackle English words to their etymological roots, and insist that the meaning a word had hundreds of years, and several languages, prior to its appearance in English should somehow remain its meaning today. But our words tend to resist being bound to the meanings they had in Old French, or Latin; someone who is dexterous, for instance, need not have anything to do with being on the right side, or being right handed, even though the Latin root dexter means “on the right side.” In a similar vein, those with whom you share companionship need not also be those with whom you share bread, even though the roots of companion (com- and panis) are from the Latin words for “with” and “bread.”

For although (to speake properly) they be not subiect to their wyues, bycause their wyues haue no authoritie ouer them: yit are they aduaunced too that honor of superioritie with certeyne conditions: namely that they should not bee cruell towardes their wyues, nor thinke all things graunted and lawfull which they lift, but that their authority should rather bee a companionship than a kingship.
— Jean Calvin, The sermons of M. John Calvin, 1577

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Definition - relating to or having the manner of companions

Companionate may not be the most useful word, but it does have a very specific meaning, and having just the right word for just the right moment is one of the things that makes a language pleasurable. In addition to the above definition (which, truth, be told, is rather similar to that of companionable, companionate also has the narrower sense of “harmoniously or suitably accompanying.”

It was then, a relatively companionate group at the bar, the Bourbon and Scotch discussing the legal ramifications of the reasons for calling a bar a counter in Delaware, the Manhattans and the Irish comparative literature, the Daiquiri and the Grasshopper comparative men, and the two Beers silently counting the nods of the Martini’s forehead as it approached his glass. Then the stranger walked in and talked (sic) ceased.
— Tom Malone, The Morning News (Wilmington, DE), 31 May 1965

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Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Definition - a fellow banqueter or feaster : a comrade at table

There are times, tho we allow they are rare, when one has need of a descriptor for the person with whom one shares a meal that is of more delicate mien than fellow chowhound. In such moments you may call upon convive. Should you have need for a drinking companion there are several choices available, including cupmate, pot-companion, and compotator.

This world a banquet is, we, convives all, 
Where most, by Drinke, to sinne and surfet fall. 
Who dyeth young, is like him that doth rise 
From banquet, ere the wine his wit surprize.
— Robert Aylett, Thrifts equipage, 1622

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Definition - traveling companion

The compagnon de voyage (or kōⁿ-pä-nʸōⁿ-də-vwä-yäzh, for those who like to read IPA) comes directly from the French. If you would prefer a word for companion that has been borrowed by English from a different European language you may instead opt for compañero.

He had as compagnon de voyage your Scoutmaster C. S. Fitzroy Lloyd who has met with great success both here and at Nikolsk in connection with the organization of Russian Boy Scouts.
The Shanghai Times, 16 Oct. 1918

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Definition - love of friends or of one's fellow man:  social sympathy

Although there are a good number of words in English which take -philia at their end, in the role of a noun combining form, the word may also serve on its own. This stand-alone sense of -philia is fairly recent, beginning in the early 20th century. It also has a definition that is a bit more innocent than many of the words for which -philia serves as an ending, such as mysophilia (“abnormal attraction to filth”).

Philosophers have traditionally distinguished three forms of love: eros, or passionate, sensual attraction to another person; philia, or affection for family, friends, clubs, teams, nations and humanity in general; and agape, which is love for God or the functional equivalent.
— Ken Johnson, The New York Times, 7 Feb. 2013




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