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[kon-fruh-tur-ni-tee] /ˌkɒn frəˈtɜr nɪ ti/
noun, plural confraternities.
a lay brotherhood devoted to some purpose, especially to religious or charitable service.
a society or organization, especially of men, united for some purpose or in some profession.
Origin of confraternity
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English confraternite < Medieval Latin confrāternitās, derivative of confrāter (see confrere), on the model of Latin frāternitās fraternity
Related forms
confraternal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for confraternity
Historical Examples
  • The privilege of weaving was confined to the confraternity of the guild.

    The Evolution of Modern Capitalism John Atkinson Hobson
  • The men on the left are portraits of members and patrons of the confraternity.

    The Venetian School of Painting

    Evelyn March Phillipps
  • Did you ever hitherto find me in the confraternity of the faulty?

  • But say not a word of them to the confraternity: nor laugh at me for them thyself.

    Clarissa, Volume 4 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Then he asked the confraternity to dinner,—more Thackerayano,—and the confraternity came.


    Anthony Trollope
  • To them the confraternity give what is necessary for their daily support.

  • A confraternity in the first case, a hierarchy in the second.

    Amiel's Journal Henri-Frdric Amiel
  • Rather his confraternity describe their meetings as "swapping stories," the flow circulating.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • Garret had recently appeared once more in Oxford, and was meeting almost daily with the confraternity there.

    For the Faith

    Evelyn Everett-Green
  • This well-known black "confraternity of Prayer and Death" accompanies the funerals of the poor gratuitously.

    Rome Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker
British Dictionary definitions for confraternity


noun (pl) -ties
a group of men united for some particular purpose, esp Christian laymen organized for religious or charitable service; brotherhood
Derived Forms
confraternal, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin confrāternitās; see confrère, fraternity
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for confraternity

late 15c., from Old French confraternité (14c.), from Medieval Latin confraternitas, from confrater (see confrere).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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