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A colleague ( Latin collega "colleague", "able comrade"; therefore outdated "colleague") is in the German language the term, which employees of the same company or the same institution give each other.


In the Swiss-German and Austrian language and partly in the southern German area and in the Ruhr area , the word colleague is used on a par with the word friend of High German (also in Portuguese , Spanish , Italian and Polish ). The work colleague or professional colleague are the otherwise typical compounds in German that refer to colleague.


The original use of the term can be traced back to the epoch of the Roman Republic, in which a binding double occupation ( collegiality ) of upper offices ( Latin magistratus ) was provided to prevent the concentration of power and for mutual control. That can still be recognized today in the collegiate body .

In the past, the word was used almost exclusively in higher education - on the one hand between university teachers , on the other hand also vis-à-vis and between students . It comes from the "Collegium", the community structure of a body . The participation in the teaching body (college or college ) of a university or a part of it was called college .

Usage today

The word colleague has now become commonplace in many other areas - from colleagues in administration and production ( employees ) to classmates to the working class . The term is still very common today in some professions , especially between doctors and medical students and among lawyers . Nowadays, other students rarely address their fellow students as “colleague” or “colleague”.

Until the Orthographic Conference of 1901 , the college spelling was also common. Today this spelling is mainly used in the names of law firms (e.g. Mustermann & Collegen), which is intended to suggest venerability and tradition.

Terms with similar meanings

Web links

Wiktionary: colleague  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ursula Hermann, Knaurs etymologisches Lexikon , 1983, p. 259
  2. ^ Susanne Hähnchen, Rechtsgeschichte , 4th edition, 2012, margin no. 78
  3. ^ College. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 2 : Beer murderer – D - (II). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1860, Sp. 630 ( ).