For a long period of time to be someone's companion was very dubious. In particular a man's female companion and a woman's male companion were euphemisms for lover. In Webster 1913's Milton example, the companions were sent to hell (viz fallen) as companions; i.e. they engaged in illicit activities (probably sex) together.

Traveling companions, however, were people who sought each other's company to aid safe passage through unknown territory.

Com*pan"ion (?), n. [F. compagnon, OF. compaing, fr. as assumed LL. companio (cf. companium fellowship, a mess), fr. L. com- + panis bread. See Pantry.]

1.

One who accompanies or is in company with another for a longer or shorter period, either from choice or casually; one who is much in the company of, or is associated with, another or others; an associate; a comrade; a consort; a partner.

The companions of his fall. Milton.

The companion of fools shall smart for it. Prov. xiii. 20 (Rev. Ver. )

Here are your sons again; and I must lose Two of the sweetest companions in the world. Shak.

A companion is one with whom we share our bread; a messmate. Trench.

2.

A knight of the lowest rank in certain orders; as, a companion of the Bath.

3.

A fellow; -- in contempt.

[Obs.]

Shak.

4. [Cf. OSp. compana an outhouse, office.] Naut. (a)

A skylight on an upper deck with frames and sashes of various shapes, to admit light to a cabin or lower deck.

(b)

A wooden hood or penthouse covering the companion way; a companion hatch.

Companion hatch Naut., a wooden porch over the entrance or staircase of the cabin. -- Companion ladder Naut., the ladder by which officers ascend to, or descend from, the quarter-deck. Totten. -- Companion way Naut., a staircase leading to the cabin. -- Knights companions, in certain honorary orders, the members of the lowest grades as distinguished from knights commanders, knights grand cross, and the like.

Syn. -- Associate; comrade; mate; compeer; partner; ally; confederate; coadjutor; accomplice.

 

© Webster 1913.


Com*pan"ion, v. t.

1.

To be a companion to; to attend on; to accompany.

[R.]

Ruskin.

2.

To qualify as a companion; to make equal.

[Obs.]

Companion me with my mistress. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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