A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed – Origin and Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Just like idioms, proverbs are an essential piece of the English language because they offer just one more way to add color and personality to your conversations and writing. I use proverbs all the time in my books, like “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

But it’s best to have some insight into its true meaning and even where it came from. So, I’ll explain everything you need to know about this proverb.

A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed Meaning Explained

A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed Origin Meaning 1

It takes a second for the meaning to make sense, but it’s meant to convey the idea that good friends are always there in times of trouble. These kinds of friends will stand by your side and offer you support and comfort when you need them most.

I love this saying because it suggests that the bond between real, true best friends becomes even stronger during challenging times. As someone who uses the trope of found family in her books, this concept is one I’m quite familiar with.

Origin of the Saying a Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed

The origin of the common phrase “a friend in need is a friend indeed” can be found in the writings of the Greek philosopher Ennius in the 3rd century BC. The saying was in Latin; “Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur,” which translates to “a sure friend is known when in difficulty.”

There’s a similar saying with the same intent from the 11th century. It was from Caxton’s Sonnes of Aymon in 1489: “It is sayd, that at the nede the frende is known.”

Other Ways to Say It

These are all great synonyms for “a friend in need is a friend indeed,” especially if you don’t feel like using the proverb.

  • In adversity, true friends are revealed.
  • Fair-weather friends are no friends at all.
  • A true friend is tested in a time of need.
  • When the going gets tough, true friends stick around.

A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed Examples in a Sentence

A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed Origin Meaning
  • When Sarah lost her job, her good friend Mary helped her find a new one right away, proving that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
  • During his illness, John realized who his true friends were because they were the ones who visited and supported him, embodying the old saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
  • Jane was grateful for her friend’s help during her difficult move after the divorce, knowing that friends in need are friends indeed.
  • Mike knew that a friend in need was a friend indeed when his friend Tom offered to loan him money during his unexpected financial troubles.
  • After the natural disaster that hit Newfoundland in 2022, the small communities came together to help each other, proving once again that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Be a Good Friend

Using phrases, idioms, and proverbs like this can convey a deeper meaning to your words. Knowing the story behind their meanings and studying their origins can help you use them in other ways, too. I hope my guide gave you some insight, and be sure to check out my other grammar tips!