1590s, "one who shares the same room," hence "a close companion," from French camarade (16c.), from Spanish camarada "chamber mate," or Italian camerata "a partner," from Latin camera "vaulted room, chamber" (see camera). In Spanish, a collective noun referring to one's company. In 17c., sometimes in jocular use misspelled comrogue. Used from 1884 by socialists and communists as a prefix to a surname to avoid "Mister" and other such titles. Related: Comradely; comradeship.