Entries linking to befriend
word-forming element of verbs and nouns from verbs, with a wide range of meaning: "about, around; thoroughly, completely; to make, cause, seem; to provide with; at, on, to, for;" from Old English be- "about, around, on all sides" (the unstressed form of bi "by;" see by (prep.)). The form has remained by- in stressed positions and in some more modern formations (bylaw, bygones, bystander).
The Old English prefix also was used to make transitive verbs and as a privative prefix (as in behead). The sense "on all sides, all about" naturally grew to include intensive uses (as in bespatter "spatter about," therefore "spatter very much," besprinkle, etc.). Be- also can be causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, such as bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s) and betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).
Old English freond "one attached to another by feelings of personal regard and preference," from Proto-Germanic *frijōjands "lover, friend" (source also of Old Norse frændi, Old Danish frynt, Old Frisian friund, Dutch vriend, Middle High German friunt, German Freund, Gothic frijonds "friend"), from PIE *priy-ont-, "loving," present-participle form of root *pri- "to love."
Meaning "a Quaker" (a member of the Society of Friends) is from 1670s. Feond ("fiend," originally "enemy") and freond often were paired alliteratively in Old English; both are masculine agent nouns derived from present participle of verbs, but they are not directly related to one another (see fiend). Related: Friends.