Associate, Companion, Comrade and Crony mean a person frequently found in the company of another.
Associate is the general term, referable to anyone whose company one enjoys or tolerates more or less regularly and usually on terms of equality because of a business, social, fraternal, or similar connection or because of a community of interests or aims.
- a person is known by his associatesy
- his associates included all the prominent young men of the town
- he became a leader of fashion. Then, to the visible embarrassment of his young associates, he suddenly tired of it all
Companion refers to a person who actually accompanies or attends one; a person who walks along the street with one or who sits with one at a restaurant table may be called a companion for the time being even if one has never seen him before and never sees him afterwards. However, the.word often implies more habitual association and closer personal relationship than associate.
- his wife was his lifelong companion
- he no longer stood alone; the companions of his youth had become in the full sense his coadjutors
- he was her darling brother, her beloved companion in adventure
Sometimes the association is not the result of friendship or of relationship but of a business arrangement.
- the old lady sought a competent paid companion
Comrade implies association in a common calling or pursuit, and more or less familiarity in companionship.
- comrades in arms
- school comrades
Commonly it connotes more sentiment than either associate or companion, even though that sentiment is sometimes no more than a sense of shared fortunes or experiences, or a consciousness of having worked or played together.
- return to her . . . ? no, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose . . . to be a comrade with the wolf and owl
- which weep the comrade of my choice . . . the human-hearted man I loved
Crony is seldom used of a young person, though often applied to an older person who was an intimate friend in school days or with whom one has been on intimate terms for a very long time.
- an old crony of his turned up after a long absence from England
- the two old ladies are great cronies