from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
  • noun A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
  • noun A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
  • noun One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement.
  • noun A member of the Society of Friends; a Quaker.
  • transitive verb Informal To add (someone) as a friend on a social networking website.
  • transitive verb Archaic To befriend.
  • idiom (be friends with) To be a friend of.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who is attached to another by feelings of personal regard and preference; one who entertains for another sentiments which lead him to seek his company and to study to promote his welfare.
  • noun One not hostile; one of the same nation, party, or kin; one at amity with another; an ally: opposed to foe or enemy.
  • noun One who is favorable, as to a cause, institution, or class; a favorer or promoter: as, a friend of or to commerce; a friend of or to public schools.
  • noun Used as a term of salutation, or in familiar address.
  • noun [capitalized] A member of the Society of Friends; a Quaker.
  • noun A lover, of either sex.
  • noun In Scotslaw, a tutor or curator.
  • noun Synonyms Companion, Comrade, etc. See associate.
  • noun Patron, advocate, partizan, well-wisher.
  • To befriend.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who entertains for another such sentiments of esteem, respect, and affection that he seeks his society and welfare; a wellwisher; an intimate associate; sometimes, an attendant.
  • noun One not inimical or hostile; one not a foe or enemy; also, one of the same nation, party, kin, etc., whose friendly feelings may be assumed. The word is some times used as a term of friendly address.
  • noun One who looks propitiously on a cause, an institution, a project, and the like; a favorer; a promoter.
  • noun One of a religious sect characterized by disuse of outward rites and an ordained ministry, by simplicity of dress and speech, and esp. by opposition to war and a desire to live at peace with all men. They are popularly called Quakers.
  • noun obsolete A paramour of either sex.
  • noun one disposed to act as a friend in a place of special opportunity or influence.
  • noun to have friendly relations with.
  • noun to become reconciled to or on friendly terms with.
  • transitive verb obsolete To act as the friend of; to favor; to countenance; to befriend.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person other than a family member, spouse or lover whose company one enjoys and towards whom one feels affection.
  • noun A boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • noun An associate who provides assistance.
  • noun A person with whom one is vaguely or indirectly acquainted
  • noun A person who backs or supports something.
  • noun informal An object or idea that can be used for good.
  • noun colloquial, sarcastic Used as a form of address when warning someone.
  • noun computing, programming In object-oriented programming, a function or class granted special access to the private and protected members of another class.
  • verb transitive, obsolete To act as a friend to, to befriend; to be friendly to, to help.
  • verb transitive To add (a person) to a list of friends on a social networking site; to officially designate (someone) as a friend.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a person you know well and regard with affection and trust
  • noun a member of the Religious Society of Friends founded by George Fox (the Friends have never called themselves Quakers)
  • noun an associate who provides cooperation or assistance
  • noun a person who backs a politician or a team etc.
  • noun a person with whom you are acquainted


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English frēond; see prī- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English frende, frend, freond, from Old English frēond ("friend, relative, lover", literally "loving-[one]"), from Proto-Germanic *frijōndz (“lover, friend”), from Proto-Indo-European *prēy-, *prāy- (“to like, love”). Cognate with West Frisian freon, froen, freondinne ("friend"), Dutch vriend ("friend"), Low German frund, fründ ("friend, relative"), German Freund ("friend"), Danish frænde ("kinsman"), Swedish frände ("kinsman, relative"), Icelandic frændi ("kinsman"), Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌹𐌾𐍉𐌽𐌳𐍃 (frijōnds, "friend"). More at free.


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  • But you, my friend my *friend* are not guilty of this.

    Around The Corner, I Had A Friend 2007

  • In adhering to the Taylor families Mr. Webster obeyed the injunction of Solomon who said, "Thine own friend, and thy _father's friend_ forsake not."

    The Bay State Monthly — Volume 2, No. 5, February, 1885 Various

  • "I have a friend here, Hamilton -- _one friend_ -- and she must stay."

    Fran 1913

  • Yes; and that is a friend of the Major’s—that is a friend… whose life the Major ought to take (pointing to the LANDLORD).

    Act III. Scene IV 1909

  • Would any friend, any real _friend_ have left you alone through this Weston business?

    Delia Blanchflower Humphry Ward 1885

  • "I can easily," says a sensible friend of mine, "hire a woman to make my linen and dress my dinner, but I cannot so readily procure a _friend_ and _companion_ for myself, and a preceptress for my children."

    The Wedding Guest 1847

  • This post also nobly defended in the late war, while it brings the affecting recollection of a confidential friend in my military family, associates with the remembrance of the illustrious defence of another fort, in the war of the revolution, by the _friend_ now near me.

    Memoirs of General Lafayette : with an Account of His Visit to America and His Reception By the People of the United State Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier Lafayette 1795

  • All friendship is preferring the interest of a friend, to the neglect, or, perhaps, against the interest of others; so that an old Greek said, "He that has _friends_ has _no friend_."

    Life of Johnson, Volume 3 1776-1780 James Boswell 1767

  • HPFacebookVoteV2. init (391677, 'Defriended: The Politics Of Social Networking', 'Last week my procrastination led me to conduct a classmate search on Facebook in which I noticed that a girl who had been my friend now had a \ "add as a friend\" rectangle next to her face.

    Giulia Rozzi: Defriended: The Politics Of Social Networking 2009

  • HPFacebookVoteV2. init (391677, 'Defriended: The Politics Of Social Networking', 'Last week my procrastination led me to conduct a classmate search on Facebook in which I noticed that a girl who had been my friend now had a \ "add as a friend\" rectangle next to her face.

    Giulia Rozzi: Defriended: The Politics Of Social Networking 2009


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  • FrIEND

    April 25, 2008

  • Yes 'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that 's fit to make an old one out of . . .

    --Sarah Orne Jewett, 1896, The Country of the Pointed Firs

    January 28, 2010

  • Before the time of social networking, people became friends in person. However, this new generation has morphed into a group of social circles that are only rooted on the web and never in person. Sometimes, friendships begin somewhere in between the two.

    “Friend” has become a verb. This new meaning piggybacks off of the old Common Teutonic noun of “friend” and has popped up in the English vocabulary because of Facebook. On this worldwide social networking site, one user connects with another user by adding them as a friend.

    “To friend” is a common phrase heard among high school hallways, malls, and internet cafés. It is used to mean “to add a person to your friend list”. But this word also sometimes has a greater meaning. After meeting someone, a person will “friend” them later. Not only does it imply a physical addition to one’s list of friends on facebook, but it may also suggest that two have just created a positive relationship in real life. The pair may connect and reach out to each other over the internet but also bring that relationship back to reality.

    Conversely, “un-friend”ing a person is intended to be an offensive act to signify the removal of friendship. It is only physically represented on Facebook, yet the break in camaraderie often transfers back into reality.

    Because “friend”ing has become so popular, it has become a controversial topic. Difficulties arise when discussion of who in one’s life should be “friended” and allowed into their personal web circle and who should be blocked. These problems often stem from professional relationships, exes, parents, grandparents, and teachers.

    One online user asks her audience, “Is it OK to friend your boss or your employees on Facebook?”

    Another person online says, “Friending mom and dad, the boss, or other work colleagues opens up the details of your private life for the whole world to see - and you might not be entirely comfortable with that.”

    “I ‘friended’ a whole mess of people I barely knew or didn't know at all. It was an ego move — a lot of people I knew had hundreds of friends. I wanted hundreds of friends too. How shallow!” says a blogger.

    July 14, 2010