• synonyms


noun, plural con·fra·ter·ni·ties.
  1. a lay brotherhood devoted to some purpose, especially to religious or charitable service.
  2. a society or organization, especially of men, united for some purpose or in some profession.
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Origin of confraternity

1425–75; late Middle English confraternite < Medieval Latin confrāternitās, derivative of confrāter (see confrere), on the model of Latin frāternitās fraternity
Related formscon·fra·ter·nal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for confraternity

Historical Examples of confraternity

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for confraternity


noun plural -ties
  1. a group of men united for some particular purpose, esp Christian laymen organized for religious or charitable service; brotherhood
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Derived Formsconfraternal, adjective

Word Origin for confraternity

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

Word Origin and History for confraternity


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper