Meaning of COMPANY in English

com ‧ pa ‧ ny S1 W1 /ˈkʌmp ə ni/ BrE AmE noun ( plural companies )

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: compagnie , from compain 'companion' , from Late Latin companio ; ⇨ ↑ companion ]

1 . BUSINESS [ countable also + plural verb British English ] a business organization that makes or sells goods or services SYN business , firm :

Which company do you work for?

I called the phone company about the bill.

The company was set up just after the war.

The company directors have awarded themselves a massive pay increase.

2 . OTHER PEOPLE [uncountable] when you are with other people and not alone:

The two men enjoy each other’s company.

Rita’s husband is away for the week, so I thought I’d go over and keep her company (=be with her so that she doesn’t feel lonely) .

Come over for dinner – I could use the company (=would like to be with other people) .

James is good company (=is a cheerful person who is enjoyable to be with) .

as company

Bessie was glad to have the dog as company.

in sb’s company (=with someone)

I felt nervous in the company of such an important man.

in company with somebody (=together with another person or group)

He’s performing in company with saxophonist Ernie Watts.

3 . GUESTS [uncountable] people who are visiting you in your home:

It looks like the Hammills have company.

We’re expecting company this evening.

4 . FRIENDS [uncountable] your friends or the group of people you spend time with:

People judge you by the company you keep (=the people you spend time with) .

Things began to go wrong when he got into bad company.

5 . PERFORMERS [countable] a group of actors, dancers, or singers who work together:

a theatre company

a touring company

the Kirov Ballet Company

6 . be in good company used to tell someone who has made a mistake that they should not be embarrassed because some important or respected people have made the same mistake:

If you can’t program the video recorder, you’re in good company.

7 . GROUP [uncountable] formal a group of people who are together in the same place, often for a particular purpose or for social reasons:

He glanced around at the assembled company.

Some jokes are just not appropriate to tell in mixed company (=in a group of both men and women) .

in company (=when surrounded by other people, especially at a social occasion)

Parents should teach their children how to behave in company.

8 . somebody and company informal used after a person’s name to mean that person and their friends:

This has not stopped Senator Biden and company from trying to make it an issue in the election.

9 . ARMY [countable] a group of about 120 soldiers who are usually part of a larger group

10 . two’s company, three’s a crowd used to suggest that two people would rather be alone together than have other people with them ⇨ part company at ↑ part 2 (4), ⇨ present company excepted at ↑ present 1 (7)

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)


▪ a computer/phone/oil etc company

an international oil company

▪ a manufacturing/shipping/publishing etc company

I’m working for a printing company at the moment.

▪ a large/big company

She has a senior position in a large manufacturing company.

▪ a small company

His father is the director of a small company.

▪ an international company (=with offices in different countries)

She works for a major international company.

▪ a multinational company (=with offices in many countries)

Within ten years the business grew into a huge multinational company.

▪ a private company (=not owned by the government)

There are many tiny private companies.

▪ a state-owned company (=owned by the government)

▪ a public/listed company (=offering its shares for sale on the stock exchange)

▪ a limited company (=one whose owners only have to pay a limited amount if it gets into debt)

▪ a subsidiary company (=owned or controlled by a larger company)

▪ the parent company (=the one that owns or controls a smaller one)

▪ a local company

The new development will bring more business to local companies.

▪ a reputable company (=with a good reputation)

Choose a reputable building company to do the work.

■ verbs

▪ work for a company

How long have you been working for your present company?

▪ join a company (=become an employee)

I joined the company ten years ago.

▪ run/manage a company

Nick runs a property company.

▪ set up/start/form a company

Two years later he started his own software company.

▪ found/establish a company

The company was founded in 1993 by William J. Nutt.

▪ take over a company (=buy it and run it)

The company was taken over by the management in a £32.5 million deal.

▪ a company grows/expands

The company has expanded year on year.

▪ a company goes bankrupt/goes out of business (=stops doing business after losing too much money)

▪ a company fails (=goes bankrupt)

His audio equipment company failed in the mid 1980s.

▪ a company goes bust informal (=goes bankrupt)

▪ a company goes to the wall informal (=goes bankrupt)

▪ a company goes into liquidation (=is closed and sold in order to pay its debts)

■ company + NOUN

▪ company policy

It is not company policy to give that information.

▪ a company director/executive

He earns a huge amount of money as a senior company executive.

▪ a company car (=that your company gives you to use)

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ enjoy sb’s company

Steve was fun and she clearly enjoyed his company.

▪ keep somebody company (=be with someone so that they do not feel lonely)

Mum was out so I stayed at home to keep my younger sister company.

▪ have some company (=not be alone)

‘Come in,’ she said, pleased to have some company.

▪ need/want company

Children need the company of other kids their age.

▪ be good/pleasant company (=be a cheerful person who is enjoyable to be with)

I always liked seeing Rob – he was such good company.

• • •


▪ company an organization that makes or sells something, or provides a service:

big oil companies


telephone companies


He runs a software company.

▪ firm a company, especially one that provides a service rather than producing goods:

a law firm


a firm of accountants


a security firm

▪ business a company – often used when talking about a company that employs only a small number of people:

She set up her own catering business.


small businesses


a family business

▪ corporation a large company that often includes several smaller companies:

IBM is one of the biggest corporations in the world.

▪ multinational a very large company with offices in many different countries:

American multinationals are establishing research and development facilities across the developing world.

▪ conglomerate /kənˈɡlɒmərət, kənˈɡlɒmərɪt $ -ˈɡlɑː-/ a very large company that consists of several different companies which have joined together:

The company was taken over by a German media conglomerate.

▪ giant a word used mainly by newspapers for a very large company:

Their clients include the retail giant, Wal-Mart.

▪ subsidiary a company that is owned by a larger company:

The company runs its New York operations through a US subsidiary.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.