Printable Version
Pronunciation: kêm-pæn-yên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A person or pet who shares experiences with another, a comrade, a close friend; an (unmarried) domestic partner, live-in lover. 2. An escort, someone employed to accompany another to social events. 3. A person hired to assist another at home. 4. Any object that accompanies another to interpret or expand the contents of it, as 'a companion volume'.

Notes: This word has a history that is unexpected in an interesting way (see below). This word may be used as a verb meaning "to pair up with", making companiable possible. However, this adjective now means "sociable, friendly". Other relatives include companionless, companionship, a synonym of companionhood.

In Play: One of the closest companions of companion is travel: "Jasmine Eddy has been my constant travel companion through all the adventures of my life." The third sense of this word may refer to any single item of a matched pair: "I can't enjoy a relaxing read without The Oxford Companion to English Literature and a cup of green tea at my side."

Word History: Today's Good Word was taken from Late Latin companio(n), literally "someone who shares (your) bread", made up of Latin com- "(together) with" + panis "bread". Panis is Latin's interpretation of PIE pa- "to feed, food". English, with the help of its Germanic ancestors, converted it into food, feed, and fodder. English borrowed pantry from French paneterie "bread closet", based on French pain "bread". Pastor is just a reprint of Latin pastor "shepherd", the personal noun to pascere "to let graze, feed", which also produced pasture. (This word is dedicated to the memory of Perry Lassiter, one of the most prolific of the Agora's Grand Panjandra, who passed away in 2020. I would also thank Jeremy Busch for reminding me of this Good Word, which Perry contributed back in 2015.)

Dr. Goodword,

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