verb (used with object)

to be a companion to; accompany.

Origin of companion

1250–1300; Middle English compainoun < Anglo-French; Old French compaignon < Late Latin compāniōn- (stem of compāniō) messmate, equivalent to com- com- + pān(is) bread + -iōn- -ion; presumably as translation of a Gmc word; compare Gothic gahlaiba, Old High German galeipo
Related formscom·pan·ion·less, adjectiveun·com·pan·ioned, adjective

Synonyms for companion

Synonym study

1. See acquaintance.


[kuh m-pan-yuh n]

noun Nautical.

a covering over the top of a companionway.

Origin of companion

1755–65; alteration of Dutch kampanje quarterdeck < French (chambre de la) compagne pantry of a medieval galley Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for companion

Contemporary Examples of companion

Historical Examples of companion

  • As Philothea turned towards her companion, she met Aspasia's earnest gaze.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Going back amazed, he asked his companion who the girl he had seen could have been.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • And, of this island realm, he and his companion were the undisputed sovereigns.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Exclusion was to me starvation, and I eagerly adopted the counsel of my companion.

  • The man who faced the redhead was as light as his companion was ponderous.

British Dictionary definitions for companion




a person who is an associate of another or others; comrade
(esp formerly) an employee, usually a woman, who provides company for an employer, esp an elderly woman
  1. one of a pair; match
  2. (as modifier)a companion volume
a guidebook or handbook
a member of the lowest rank of any of certain orders of knighthood
astronomy the fainter of the two components of a double star


(tr) to accompany or be a companion to
Derived Formscompanionless, adjective

Word Origin for companion

C13: from Late Latin compāniō, literally: one who eats bread with another, from Latin com- with + pānis bread




  1. a raised frame on an upper deck with windows to give light to the deck below
  2. (as modifier)a companion ladder

Word Origin for companion

C18: from Dutch kompanje quarterdeck, from Old French compagne, from Old Italian compagna pantry, perhaps ultimately from Latin pānis bread
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 companion

c.1300, from Old French compagnon "fellow, mate, friend, partner" (12c.), from Late Latin companionem (nominative companio), literally "bread fellow, messmate," from Latin com- "with" (see com-) + panis "bread" (see food).

Found first in 6c. Frankish Lex Salica, and probably a translation of a Germanic word (cf. Gothic gahlaiba "messmate," from hlaib "loaf of bread"). Replaced Old English gefera "traveling companion," from faran "go, fare."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper