[ frend ]
/ frɛnd /


verb (used with object)

Rare. to befriend.
to add (a person) to one's list of contacts on a social media website: I just friended a couple of guys in my class.


    make friends with, to enter into friendly relations with; become a friend to.

Origin of friend

before 900; Middle English friend, frend, Old English frēond “friend, lover, relative” (cognate with Old Saxon friund, Old High German friunt (German Freund), Gothic frijōnds), originally the present participle of frēogan, cognate with Gothic frijōn “to love”

Related forms

friend·less, adjectivefriend·less·ness, nounnon·friend, noun

Synonym study

1. See acquaintance.

Word story

Friend and fiend have identical formations: They are both in origin present participles used as nouns, Old English frēond (also frīend ) for friend, and fēond (also fīend ) for fiend. The two nouns even occur together in Old English alliterative verse: Se fēond and se frēond “the fiend and the friend.”
Frēond “friend, close acquaintance” has many cognates in Germanic: Old Frisian friūnd, Old Dutch friunt, Old High German friunt, German Freund, Gothic frijonds. Frēond comes from the Old English verb frēogan (also frēon ) “to love, free, set free,” and is a derivative of the Germanic root fri-, frī- (and suffixed form frija- ), which is also the source of English free (the progression of senses is “beloved,” then “one of the loved ones,” then “one not a slave, free”).
Old English fēond originally meant “enemy, foe” (and so was the opposite of friend ), and especially in Old English poetry, “Satan, the Devil” (in Beowulf the devil is referred to as fēond moncynnes “the enemy of mankind”). Fēond has many cognates in Germanic: Old Frisian fiand, Dutch vijand, German Feind, all meaning “enemy.” Fēond comes from the Old English verb fēogan “to hate,” from a Germanic root fī - (from a very complicated Proto-Indo-European root pē-, pēi-, pī- “to hurt, harm”).
Etymologically speaking, then, friend and fiend are acquaintances, and not relatives. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for friendless

British Dictionary definitions for friendless (1 of 3)


/ (frɛnd) /


a member of the Religious Society of Friends; Quaker

British Dictionary definitions for friendless (2 of 3)


/ (frɛnd) /


trademark mountaineering a device consisting of a shaft with double-headed spring-loaded cams that can be wedged in a crack to provide an anchor point

British Dictionary definitions for friendless (3 of 3)


/ (frɛnd) /



(tr) an archaic word for befriend

Derived Forms

friendless, adjectivefriendlessness, nounfriendship, noun

Word Origin for friend

Old English frēond; related to Old Saxon friund, Old Norse frǣndi, Gothic frijōnds, Old High German friunt
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

Idioms and Phrases with friendless


In addition to the idiom beginning with friend

  • friend in court

also see:

  • fair-weather friend
  • make friends
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.