c. 1300, from Old French compagnon "fellow, mate, friend, partner" (12c.), from Late Latin companionem (nominative companio), literally "bread fellow, messmate," from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + panis "bread," from PIE root *pa- "to feed."
Found first in 6c. Frankish Lex Salica, and probably a translation of a Germanic word (compare Gothic gahlaiba "messmate," from hlaib "loaf of bread"). Replaced Old English gefera "traveling companion," from faran "go, fare."
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