verb (used with object)

to make friends or become friendly with; act as a friend to; help; aid: to befriend the poor and the weak.

Origin of befriend

First recorded in 1550–60; be- + friend
Related formsun·be·friend·ed, adjective

Synonyms for befriend Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for befriend

Contemporary Examples of befriend

  • Which itself, in turn, makes it harder to befriend people from the other side.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Red Date, Blue Date

    Megan McArdle

    October 30, 2012

  • You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Strangers in a Strange Land

    Emily L. Hauser

    September 7, 2012

  • But whatever their private feeling, politicians have been keen to befriend a critical power-broker.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Knives Out Against Murdoch

    William Underhill

    July 7, 2011

Historical Examples of befriend

  • We can convey the intelligence of your mischance to her: the porter will befriend you.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • If you have, don't expect me to befriend you when you get back to England.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • "Then you won't find me slow to befriend you," said Mr. Dunbar.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • When I first knew her she was lonely and strange, and I tried to befriend her.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Grown beyond her consoling, and knows that she cannot befriend him.


    William D. Howells

British Dictionary definitions for befriend



(tr) to be a friend to; assist; favour
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

Word Origin and History for befriend

1550s, from be- + friend (q.v.). Related: Befriended; befriending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper