Colleagues Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

If you’re interested in learning about the term colleagues, keep reading. This guide will give you its definition, origin, synonyms, and more.

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You may have heard the word colleagues used in passing before, but do you know what it means? No need to stress — we’re here with everything you need to know. 

Read on to discover colleagues’ definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and more. What are you waiting for? Let’s get into it!

What Is the Definition of Colleagues?

According to the Collins Dictionary, your colleagues are the people you work with, especially in a professional job. 

You wouldn’t consider your boss a colleague. In short, a colleague is someone in your organization or department who has the same status or level of responsibility as you.  

What Is the Origin of the Word Colleague?

Believe it or not, the first records of the term colleague in the English language date back to the 1500s

Colleague derives from the Middle French collegue (or French collègue), which comes from the Latin collega, meaning “one selected at the same time as another.” This word is formed from the roots col– (which is a variant of com-), meaning “together,” and legare (or lēgāre), meaning “to choose.”

What Are the Synonyms of Colleague?

Whether you’re on a mission to make your writing much more captivating or simply trying to avoid boring and repetitive language, synonyms can help. That said, what is a synonym?

Simply put, a synonym is a word or phrase that has the same or nearly the same meaning as a given word. Synonyms of colleague include:

  • Associates
  • Confreres
  • Ally
  • Coworkers (or co-workers)
  • Equals
  • Fellow member of a profession
  • Fellows
  • Peers
  • Accomplices
  • Allies
  • Cohorts
  • Fellow worker
  • Collaborators
  • Associate
  • Compatriots
  • Companions
  • Workmates
  • Helper

What Are the Antonyms of Colleague?

In addition to learning synonyms, discovering the antonyms of a word can also help to enhance your vocabulary. Antonyms are simply words that have the opposite meaning of a word. 

Antonyms of colleague include:

  • Enemy
  • Foe
  • Opponent
  • Detractor
  • Opposer
  • Antagonist
  • Stranger
  • Adversary
  • Contender

Examples of Colleague in a Sentence

Now that you understand what colleague means, it’s time to start using it as a part of your everyday vocabulary. To get you going, we’ve put together several examples of colleague being used in a sentence below:

Sarah and her colleague are going on a date after work today.

The surgeon consulted his colleagues about the patient’s GI symptoms prior to surgery.

I am closest to my colleague Quinn.

I feel like my job would be more enjoyable if my colleagues were a little nicer.

My colleague and I work at different times to provide 24-hour support for our customers.

My colleague Jill saw an Oracle last Friday who said she saw a career change in her near future.

Before I agree with you on this urgent matter, I need to discuss it with my colleagues.

My colleague’s point of contact is Joe from the main office.

Sam and his colleagues track changes in ocean temperature to identify potential earthquakes.

Don’t forget to send an e-mail to your execs and colleagues letting them know you won’t be at work tomorrow.

Tiffany is pretty upset about her male colleagues’ aggression from the office today; his behavior was unacceptable.

Unfortunately, Tom lost all his colleagues’ trust.

My colleagues warmly welcomed me to the team.

Annie and Bill are both colleagues of mine.

He’s having an affair with a colleague.

My colleague Janet experienced a major body transformation last summer after giving her my secret protein pancake recipe.

We got an idea of their plan from a former colleague.

A fellow worker or member of staff is your colleague.

Some of my colleagues can be real jerks.

What’s the Difference Between Colleague and Coworker?

Many folks are under the impression that colleague and coworker are interchangeable, but the truth is that these two words are very different. 

When you call someone a colleague, you’re referring to a person in the same department as you or with the same rank. It’s basically someone you work with closely at the office. 

On the flip side, a coworker could be someone from another department or organization but typically describes people who share a workspace or duties. While you work for the same company as your coworker, you don’t need to have the same rank. 

So, is your boss your colleague? No, not exactly, but they are your coworker. In short, all the employees of your organization are your coworkers; however, they’re not all colleagues.    


From the Latin collēga, the term colleague simply refers to someone who works with you. 

However, unlike a coworker — which refers to anyone working in the same company as you — a colleague is typically someone who has the same rank. For example, your boss can be considered a coworker but not a colleague. Still, coworker and colleague are often used interchangeably in casual conversations, referring to the definition of the latter.

We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to understand the word colleague. To discover other interesting words, check out our website, where you’ll also find helpful grammar tips, useful tools, and more. 


  1. Colleague definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  2. Colleague Definition & Meaning |
  3. CO-WORKER | Cambridge English Dictionary
  4. ANTAGONIST | Cambridge English Dictionary