Comradery vs. Camaraderie: Which is Right?

A person has plenty of ways to express the feelings of closeness they have for a team or a group. That word is comradery — or would that be camaraderie? Wait a minute, which one should you use?

If comradery and camaraderie leave you flummoxed as to which is correct (or more appropriate), you’re not alone. The good news is that we’re here to clear up the confusion. Just so you know, the difference between these two words is a lot simpler than you think.

What Does Comradery Mean?

Before we get to the meaning of comradery, let’s first define the commonly used camaraderie. This word refers to a general feeling of closeness and amicableness between two or more individuals.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word first appeared in the middle of the 19th century. Camaraderie comes from the French word “camarade,” which used to mean companion, roommate or a group sleeping in a single room. This French term ultimately evolved from “camera,” the Latin word for chamber.

The definition of comradery is the same as camaraderie — a spirit of friendly good fellowship. Comradery is a variant of camaraderie. The first known use of this term was back in 1862. People added the suffix “-ry” to comrade, similar to how words like pageantry and dentistry are formed.

The Difference Between Comradery and Camaraderie

This word pairing is a bit different from the ones we’ve tackled in the past, such as good night vs. goodnight or capital vs. capitol. Unlike these two, where a single space or letter can alter the definition of a word, comradery and camaraderie have identical meanings.

The word “comradery” and “camaraderie,” however, differ in spelling and pronunciation. Also, although these two words may sound similar, they are not homophones. Comradery sounds like “kom-rad-ree.” On the other hand, you pronounce camaraderie as “kahm-rah-duh-ree.”

When to Use Comradery

Don’t let the difference in spelling and pronunciation fool you. You can use comradery the same way you’d use camaraderie.

Here are a few examples:

  • The employees at Facebook experienced a renewed sense of comradery after the company-sponsored team-building event.
  • Kimberly was happy when the team welcomed her with such enthusiastic comradery.
  • There was great comradery among all who participated in this annual event.

How to Use Comradery

You need to remember that word “comradery” is a noun. This means that it can serve as the object or the subject of a sentence.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Soldiers who have fought valiantly in the Second World War form a comradery that’s like no other feeling in the world.
  • Comradery is the main thing that kept co-workers on good terms during a difficult and time-sensitive project.

Take note, though, that you can’t pluralize comradery. This word is a non-count noun, which means that you can’t just “change y to i and add the suffix –es.”

Which is Correct: Comradery or Camaraderie?

Team comradery or camaraderie? Both options are acceptable. Source: Pinterest

Many experts consider the word “comradery” as incorrect. Even though the term has the same meaning as camaraderie, they don’t accept the spelling of comradery as a correct form.

Others believe that there’s not a lot of good reason to use any spelling apart from camaraderie. Although comradery appears in Merriam-Webster as an acceptable second spelling for camaraderie, this word is not included in other major dictionaries, such as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary.

What’s more, Google Ngram reveals that people use camaraderie a lot more than comradery.

Does this mean that you should forget that “comradery” ever existed and just go with the all-popular camaraderie? The answer is not necessarily.

People often assume that there’s only one right or exclusive way to spell words in the English language. This assumption, however, is incorrect, as there’s no single objective authority on English spelling. English, just like other languages, changes and evolves over time much like a living creature.

So if you prefer to spell comradery over camaraderie, that’s fine. You could also use camaraderie in place of comradery. Both are fine, and the grammar police won’t penalize you for your word choices.

You will, however, be called out for spelling the word incorrectly. When spelling comradery and camaraderie, avoid the following common misspellings (and use a spell checker if necessary):

  • Comaraderie
  • Cameradery
  • Comrodery
  • Camraderie

Other Words for Comradery

If you believe that you are overusing the word “comradery” in your writing or everyday conversation, you could substitute it with a synonym. Apart from solidarity, companionship and fellowship, you could use these words in place of comradery:

  • Team Spirit
  • Brotherhood or Sisterhood
  • Community
  • Friendship
  • Togetherness

Is Comradery the Same As Morale?

Some people confuse comradery with morale, as they both tend to apply to groups of people or teams. These two oft-confused words, however, are completely different.

Here are a few reasons:

  • Comradery means goodwill among individuals in a group. Morale refers to the emotional or mental state of a group or a person.
  • Comradery is positive. Morale can be negative or positive.
  • Comradery takes time. Morale can change quickly as a result of a positive or negative event.

Comradery and camaraderie may be different in spelling and pronunciation, but they mean the same no matter which word you pick. If you see the word comradery in an article, don’t immediately dismiss it as an incorrectly spelled word. Instead, treat it as an acceptable alternative to camaraderie.

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