Definition of company noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkʌmpəni//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkʌmpəni//
    (pl. companies) Economy
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  1. 1  [countable + singular or plural verb] (abbreviation Co.) (often in names) a business organization that makes money by producing or selling goods or services the largest computer company in the world the National Bus Company She joined the company in 2009. Company profits were 5% lower than last year. He runs his own TV production company. company policy CollocationsBusinessRunning a business buy/​acquire/​own/​sell a company/​firm/​franchise set up/​establish/​start/​start up/​launch a business/​company run/​operate a business/​company/​franchise head/​run a firm/​department/​team make/​secure/​win/​block a deal expand/​grow/​build the business boost/​increase investment/​spending/​sales/​turnover/​earnings/​exports/​trade increase/​expand production/​output/​sales boost/​maximize production/​productivity/​efficiency/​income/​revenue/​profit/​profitability achieve/​maintain/​sustain growth/​profitability cut/​reduce/​bring down/​lower/​slash costs/​prices announce/​impose/​make cuts/​cutbacksSales and marketing break into/​enter/​capture/​dominate the market gain/​grab/​take/​win/​boost/​lose market share find/​build/​create a market for something start/​launch an advertising/​a marketing campaign develop/​launch/​promote a product/​website create/​generate demand for your product attract/​get/​retain/​help customers/​clients drive/​generate/​boost/​increase demand/​sales beat/​keep ahead of/​out-think/​outperform the competition meet/​reach/​exceed/​miss sales targetsFinance draw up/​set/​present/​agree/​approve a budget keep to/​balance/​cut/​reduce/​slash the budget be/​come in below/​under/​over/​within budget generate income/​revenue/​profit/​funds/​business fund/​finance a campaign/​a venture/​an expansion/​spending/​a deficit provide/​raise/​allocate capital/​funds attract/​encourage investment/​investors recover/​recoup costs/​losses/​an investment get/​obtain/​offer somebody/​grant somebody credit/​a loan apply for/​raise/​secure/​arrange/​provide financeFailure lose business/​trade/​customers/​sales/​revenue accumulate/​accrue/​incur/​run up debts suffer/​sustain enormous/​heavy/​serious losses face cuts/​a deficit/​redundancy/​bankruptcy file for/ (North American English) enter/​avoid/​escape bankruptcy (British English) go into administration/​liquidation liquidate/​wind up a company survive/​weather a recession/​downturn propose/​seek/​block/​oppose a merger launch/​make/​accept/​defeat a takeover bid Wordfinderagent, business, company, competitor, customer, director, employ, franchise, manager, shareholder CulturecompaniesThere are several types of business company in Britain. A statutory company is set up by an Act of Parliament. Many former statutory companies that were managed by the government, such as those responsible for Britain's railway system and coal industry, have now been privatized (= sold and made into privately run companies operating for profit).Most commercial businesses in Britain are registered companies. Lists of these are kept by the Registrar of Companies, and company information and accounts are kept at Companies House. Registered companies may be either private companies or public companies. Private companies have a limited number of shareholders (or members), and their shares are not available to the general public. Shares in public companies can be bought and sold by the public on the stock exchange.A limited company, sometimes called a limited liability company, can be either private or public. The liability (= responsibility) of shareholders for any losses is limited to the value of their shares. Private limited companies have the letters Ltd after their name. A public limited company (plc) must offer its shares for sale to the public. Most large companies in Britain, such as BP, for example, are public limited companies. A special type of limited company, the company limited by guarantee, is used especially for charities. Rather than buy shares, its members promise to pay for a share of debts if it fails.Most businesses in the US are corporations, which are similar to British limited companies. People who invest money in them are liable for (= risk losing) only the amount they have invested. Some corporations sell their shares on the stock exchange, but others do not. Small corporations, e.g. family businesses, may be called close corporations. Corporations often have the letters Inc. (short for ‘incorporated’) after their name. The laws about how corporations are formed and should operate vary from state to state.In both Britain and the US, professional businesses like law firms are often partnerships, which consist of two or more people who own a business and are together responsible for its debts. In a limited partnership ‘general partners’ run the business and take responsibility for debts while ‘limited partners’ only invest money.A sole proprietorship is run by one person only. Many small businesses in the US operate in this way because the rules are much simpler than those for corporations. Sole proprietorships do not have limited liability. If the name of the business is not the same as the name of the person who runs it, the letters d.b.a. are used, short for doing business as, e.g. Ted Smith, d.b.a. Ted's Book Store. See related entries: Economy
  2. theatre/dance
  3. 2  (often in names) [countable + singular or plural verb] a group of people who work or perform together a theatre/dance, etc. company the Royal Shakespeare Company
  4. being with somebody
  5. 3  [uncountable] the fact of being with somebody else and not alone I enjoy Jo's company (= I enjoy being with her). She enjoys her own company (= being by herself) when she is travelling. The children are very good company (= pleasant to be with) at this age. a pleasant evening in the company of friends He's coming with me for company.
  6. guests
  7. 4[uncountable] (formal) guests in your house I didn't realize you had company.
  8. group of people
  9. 5[uncountable] (formal) a group of people together She told the assembled company what had happened. It is bad manners to whisper in company (= in a group of people).
  10. soldiers
  11. 6[countable + singular or plural verb] a group of soldiers that is part of a battalion
  12. Word OriginMiddle English (in senses (2) to (6)): from Old French compainie; related to compaignon, literally ‘one who breaks bread with another’, based on Latin com- ‘together with’ + panis ‘bread’.Extra examples During the recession many small companies went out of business. He glanced around the assembled company. He has shares in several companies. He’s nervous in the company of his colleagues. He’s very good company. I always enjoy her company. I took my mother with me for company. I’ll stay and keep you company. It’s nice to have a bit of company for a change. John’s mother was worried about the company he kept. She’s been working for the same company for 15 years. That’s not something to say in mixed company. The company has been taken over by a rival. The company produces cotton goods. Those children don’t know how to behave in company. We’re expecting company this afternoon. a major European company a public limited company a small insurance company a small start-up software company a small touring opera company an international trading company the division of power within a company Company profits were 5% lower than last year. During the 1980s it was one of the largest computer companies in the world. He got into bad company and got involved in drugs. He works for the National Bus Company. I didn’t realize you had company. It is company policy not to allow smoking in the building. It’s not the type of joke you’d tell in mixed company. Mike gets a company car with his new job. She joined the company in 1992. The dining room was only used when they had company.Idioms
    the company somebody keeps
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    the people that somebody spends time with Judging by the company he kept, Mark must have been a wealthy man.
    get into/keep bad company
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    to be friends with people that others disapprove of They worried about their teenage son getting into bad company.
    in company with somebody/something
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    (formal) together with or at the same time as somebody/something She arrived in company with the ship's captain. The US dollar went through a difficult time, in company with the oil market.
    if you say that somebody is in good company, you mean that they should not worry about a mistake, etc. because somebody else, especially somebody more important, has done the same thing If you worry about your relationship with your teenage son or daughter, you are in good company. Many parents share these worries. to stay with somebody so that they are not alone I'll keep you company while you're waiting.
      part company (with/from somebody)
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    1. 1to leave somebody; to end a relationship with somebody This is where we part company (= go in different directions). The band have parted company with their manager. The band and their manager have parted company.
    2. 2to disagree with somebody about something Weber parted company with Marx on a number of important issues.
    present company excepted
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    (informal) used after being rude or critical about somebody to say that the people you are talking to are not included in the criticism The people in this office are so narrow-minded, present company excepted, of course.
    two’s company (, three’s a crowd)
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    (saying) used to suggest that it is better to be in a group of only two people than have a third person with you as well
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: company