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World of Words
A monthly blog of interesting words, phrases, and idioms.  Like us on Facebook to receive new posts.

In this blog we tend to focus on less common words -- words like anomia and tendentious, which don't get used in everyday conversation. This month's word, however, is a more common word. You know what the word means, but you might not know its origin. The word is companionship.

Companionship can be defined as "the fellowship that exists among companions," or "the good feeling that comes from being with someone else." In other words, you have a feeling of companionship for someone you enjoy spending time with -- someone you call a friend.

But where does the word "companionship" come from? How does it break down? First, we can split it into "companion" and "ship." The suffix "-ship" means a "condition" or "office." In other words, companionship is the condition of being a companion.

But what about companion? Where does that come from? In Latin, the word "com" means "with," and "panis" means "bread" (from which the French get their word "pain" and the Spanish get "pan"). So a companion is someone you eat bread with, and companionship is the sense of well-being that comes from having someone to share bread with.

The word "companionship" is only 500 years old, but the concept has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Ancient literature is filled with concepts like "breaking bread together" as symbolism for friendship. The patriarch Abraham saw three strangers walking down the road by the Oaks of Mamre and ran to greet them, saying, "Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on."

Eating together: it is such a simple pleasure, yet it is a cornerstone of most relationship building -- both platonic and romantic. 

And so, we leave you with this simple advertisement from "President's Choice": Eat Together.



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