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[kuhm-puh-nee] /ˈkʌm pə ni/
noun, plural companies.
a number of individuals assembled or associated together; group of people.
a guest or guests:
We're having company for dinner.
an assemblage of persons for social purposes.
companionship; fellowship; association:
I always enjoy her company.
one's usual companions:
I don't like the company he keeps.
society collectively.
a number of persons united or incorporated for joint action, especially for business:
a publishing company; a dance company.
(initial capital letter) the members of a firm not specifically named in the firm's title:
George Higgins and Company.
  1. the smallest body of troops, consisting of a headquarters and two or three platoons.
  2. any relatively small group of soldiers.
  3. Army. a basic unit with both tactical and administrative functions.
a unit of firefighters, including their special apparatus:
a hook-and-ladder company.
Also called ship's company. a ship's crew, including the officers.
a medieval trade guild.
the Company, Informal. a nation's major intelligence-gathering and espionage organization, as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
verb (used without object), companied, companying.
Archaic. to associate.
verb (used with object), companied, companying.
Archaic. to accompany.
keep company,
  1. to associate with; be a friend of.
  2. Informal. to go together, as in courtship:
    My sister has been keeping company with a young lawyer.
part company,
  1. to cease association or friendship with:
    We parted company 20 years ago after the argument.
  2. to take a different or opposite view; differ:
    He parted company with his father on politics.
  3. to separate:
    We parted company at the airport.
Origin of company
1200-50; Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French compaignie companionship, equivalent to compain (< Late Latin compāniō; see companion1) + -ie -y3
Related forms
companyless, adjective
intercompany, adjective
1. group, assemblage, body. 3. gathering, crowd. 6. firm, house, corporation.
Synonym Study
1. Company, band, party, troop refer to a group of people formally or informally associated. Company is the general word and means any group of people: a company of motorists. Band, used especially of a band of musicians, suggests a relatively small group pursuing the same purpose or sharing a common fate: a concert by a band; a band of survivors. Party, except when used of a political group, usually implies an indefinite and temporary assemblage, as for some common pursuit: a spelunking party. Troop, used specifically of a body of cavalry, usually implies a number of individuals organized as a unit: a troop of cavalry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for keep company
Historical Examples
  • The council agreed to my proposal, so that we concluded to keep company together, and to proceed for the Red Sea.

  • Right, Davy,—always right,—them's the men to keep company with!

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • "Assuredly not, but I see your Quintilian in great danger of coming to keep company with my Pliny," answered the doctor.

    The Waif of the "Cynthia" Andr Laurie and Jules Verne
  • The young woman I keep company with,” said I, “pray what do you mean?

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • There is that new flax to be spun,112 and you may keep company with your uncle.

    Agnes of Sorrento Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Do not “keep company” with covetous persons and extortioners.

    The Slavery Question John Lawrence
  • Reginald, I shall never marry you if you keep company with grooms, and speak their language.

  • I'll keep company with Ulick—with Mr. Invern as much as I please.

    Painted Veils James Huneker
  • However, if he took it into his head to keep company with a party, all felt perfectly secure under his charge.

    In the Old West George Frederick Ruxton
  • Get a girl to keep company with you, and then turn your back on her!

British Dictionary definitions for keep company


noun (pl) -nies
a number of people gathered together; assembly
the fact of being with someone; companionship: I enjoy her company
a social visitor or visitors; guest or guests
a business enterprise
the members of an enterprise not specifically mentioned in the enterprise's title Abbreviation Co, co
a group of actors, usually including business and technical personnel
a unit of around 100 troops, usually comprising two or more platoons
the officers and crew of a ship
a unit of Girl Guides
(English history) a medieval guild
keep company, bear company
  1. to accompany (someone)
  2. (esp of lovers) to associate with each other; spend time together
part company
  1. to end a friendship or association, esp as a result of a quarrel; separate
  2. (foll by with) to leave; go away (from); be separated (from)
verb -nies, -nying, -nied
(archaic) to keep company or associate (with someone)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French compaignie, from compain companion, fellow, from Late Latin compāniō; see companion1
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 keep company



mid-12c., "large group of people," from Old French compagnie "society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers" (12c.), from Late Latin companio (see companion). Meaning "companionship" is from late 13c. Sense of "business association" first recorded 1550s, having earlier been used in reference to trade guilds (c.1300). Meaning "subdivision of an infantry regiment" is from 1580s. Abbreviation co. dates from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with keep company

keep company

Also,keep company with. Associate with; also, carry on a courtship. For example, He keeps company with a wild bunch, or Jack and Françoise kept company for two years before they married. [ Mid-1500s ]
keep someone company. Accompany or remain with someone, as in Mary kept Mother company while she shopped, or Do you want me to stay and keep you company? This term was originally put asbear someone company. [ c. 1300 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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