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) .
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)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + company
▪ 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.
▪ 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)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
▪ 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
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.
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.