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[kuhm-puh-nee] /ˈkʌm pə ni/
noun, plural companies.
a number of individuals assembled or associated together; group of people.
a guest or guests:
We're having company for dinner.
an assemblage of persons for social purposes.
companionship; fellowship; association:
I always enjoy her company.
one's usual companions:
I don't like the company he keeps.
society collectively.
a number of persons united or incorporated for joint action, especially for business:
a publishing company; a dance company.
(initial capital letter) the members of a firm not specifically named in the firm's title:
George Higgins and Company.
  1. the smallest body of troops, consisting of a headquarters and two or three platoons.
  2. any relatively small group of soldiers.
  3. Army. a basic unit with both tactical and administrative functions.
a unit of firefighters, including their special apparatus:
a hook-and-ladder company.
Also called ship's company. a ship's crew, including the officers.
a medieval trade guild.
the Company, Informal. a nation's major intelligence-gathering and espionage organization, as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
verb (used without object), companied, companying.
Archaic. to associate.
verb (used with object), companied, companying.
Archaic. to accompany.
keep company,
  1. to associate with; be a friend of.
  2. Informal. to go together, as in courtship:
    My sister has been keeping company with a young lawyer.
part company,
  1. to cease association or friendship with:
    We parted company 20 years ago after the argument.
  2. to take a different or opposite view; differ:
    He parted company with his father on politics.
  3. to separate:
    We parted company at the airport.
1200-50; Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French compaignie companionship, equivalent to compain (< Late Latin compāniō; see companion1) + -ie -y3
Related forms
companyless, adjective
intercompany, adjective
1. group, assemblage, body. Company, band, party, troop refer to a group of people formally or informally associated. Company is the general word and means any group of people: a company of motorists. Band, used especially of a band of musicians, suggests a relatively small group pursuing the same purpose or sharing a common fate: a concert by a band; a band of survivors. Party, except when used of a political group, usually implies an indefinite and temporary assemblage, as for some common pursuit: a spelunking party. Troop, used specifically of a body of cavalry, usually implies a number of individuals organized as a unit: a troop of cavalry. 3. gathering, crowd. 6. firm, house, corporation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for companies
  • And produce companies are domesticating many leafy greens by selling them stemmed, washed, and bagged.
  • But for the widest selection, check out nursery seed racks or order from seed companies.
  • Landscape supply companies will deliver bulk orders.
  • Bare-root plants are sold in late winter and early spring by retail nurseries and mail-order companies.
  • These companies are small, though, and their stock limited.
  • Garden centers and mail-order companies offer many sorts of hoes.
  • The companies say their plan will offer a new way for students who lack basic skills to get caught up.
  • For years, drug and medical-device companies have paid for refresher courses that doctors must take to maintain their licenses.
  • But the department may have few means of punishing the lending companies.
  • Those companies handle a majority of the book acquisitions at many libraries.
British Dictionary definitions for companies


noun (pl) -nies
a number of people gathered together; assembly
the fact of being with someone; companionship: I enjoy her company
a social visitor or visitors; guest or guests
a business enterprise
the members of an enterprise not specifically mentioned in the enterprise's title Abbreviation Co, co
a group of actors, usually including business and technical personnel
a unit of around 100 troops, usually comprising two or more platoons
the officers and crew of a ship
a unit of Girl Guides
(English history) a medieval guild
keep company, bear company
  1. to accompany (someone)
  2. (esp of lovers) to associate with each other; spend time together
part company
  1. to end a friendship or association, esp as a result of a quarrel; separate
  2. (foll by with) to leave; go away (from); be separated (from)
verb -nies, -nying, -nied
(archaic) to keep company or associate (with someone)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French compaignie, from compain companion, fellow, from Late Latin compāniō; see companion1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for companies



mid-12c., "large group of people," from Old French compagnie "society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers" (12c.), from Late Latin companio (see companion). Meaning "companionship" is from late 13c. Sense of "business association" first recorded 1550s, having earlier been used in reference to trade guilds (c.1300). Meaning "subdivision of an infantry regiment" is from 1580s. Abbreviation co. dates from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with companies
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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