Many strict Christians will tell you that Jesus is their companion, and then they'll go off to break some bread and honor him by taking him inside themselves even more. That's oddly appropriate, etymologically speaking. The word companion, through Middle English and Old French, comes to us from the Latin word companionem, which literally can mean "bread buddy". This is because those zany Romans consider anybody you break bread with to be a "companion", and therefore the word was created. This is a portmanteau of com, meaning either "with" or "together", and panis, which was the Latin word for bread and the source of many similar-sounding words that we know today. Com-, through the earlier prefix cum-, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root kom, which meant something more like "beside". Meanwhile, panis may be from Proto-Indo-European peh, or "to graze", since animals graze on wheat, and wheat makes bread. All of this is very convoluted and inherently fascinating.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd