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noun (1)

com·​pan·​ion kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio)
plural companions
often attributive
: one that accompanies another : comrade, associate
traveling companions
also : one that keeps company with another
his longtime companion
obsolete : rascal
: one that is closely connected with something similar
The book is a companion to the television series with the same title.
: one employed to live with and serve another
We hired a companion for our elderly mother.
: a celestial body that appears close to another but that may or may not be associated with it in space
: a book, manual, etc., that provides information or advice about a particular subject
a companion to French New Wave cinema
used in titles
The Gardener's Companion


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companioned; companioning; companions

transitive verb

: accompany
Anne sat long at her window that night companioned by a glad content.Lucy Maud Montgomery

intransitive verb

: to keep company (see company entry 1 sense 1a)
fellows that he'd companioned with many years ago


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noun (2)

: a hood covering at the top of a companionway

Did you know?

History of Companion

You may be a companion to someone without eating with that person, but etymologically you are sharing a meal with them. The word companion ultimately comes from the Latin com- (“with”) and panis (“bread, food”). The ingestible aspect of this word is reminiscent of symposium, which may be traced to the Greek word sympinein, meaning “to drink together.” But just as you may be a companion to someone without eating, you may also attend a symposium without drinking.

Example Sentences

Verb movie heroes are often companioned by wisecracking sidekicks
Recent Examples on the Web
My favorite from this year was the Enabot Ebo X family robot companion. Prakhar Khanna, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 Gus had been a devoted companion for Fox in his ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 8 Mar. 2023 The set is executive produced by The Weeknd and Mike Dean and is a companion to his recent HBO special Live at SoFi Stadium. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 3 Mar. 2023 The case, arising from an attack in Istanbul, was a companion to a case argued a day before that tested a shield for technology platforms. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 22 Feb. 2023 This water-resistant headlamp is the perfect companion for hiking or camping. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 17 Feb. 2023 Bose Bose 700 for $330 ($380) at Amazon: As one of the early leaders of noise-canceling headphone tech, Bose has been a trusted companion for business travelers for years. Chuong Nguyen, Ars Technica, 17 Feb. 2023 The book is a companion to Scott’s new work, which is traveling for exhibition in Iowa, Massachusetts and California. Donna M. Owens, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2023 The perfect companion for air travel, this bag has a spacious interior that was designed to keep all your essentials neat and tidy. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 15 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'companion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English compainoun, from Anglo-French cumpaing, cumpaignun, from Late Latin companion-, companio, from Latin com- + panis bread, food — more at food

Noun (2)

by folk etymology from Dutch kampanje poop deck

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1622, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of companion was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near companion

Cite this Entry

“Companion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
com·​pan·​ion kəm-ˈpan-yən How to pronounce companion (audio)
: one that often accompanies another : comrade
: one of a pair of matching things
: a person employed to live with and serve another


2 of 2 noun

More from Merriam-Webster on companion

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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