I have faced some problems in using these two verbs: "accompany" and "escort".

How to define which is suitable? Maybe one of them is used only in formal context? They have almost the same meaning so I can't figure out which to choose. Thanks in advance.


3 Answers 3

  • Accompany means to go in company with someone or something (robots), to go together with.
  • Escort has a sense of providing protection or guidance.

Here's what The-difference-between says:

Accompany is a synonym of escort. Escort is a synonym of accompany.
As verbs the difference between escort and accompany is that escort is to attend with a view to guard and protect; to accompany as safeguard; to give honorable or ceremonious attendance to; -- used especially with reference to journeys or excursions on land; as, to escort a public functionary, or a lady; to escort a baggage wagon while accompany is to go with or attend as a companion or associate; to keep company with; to go along with.

As a noun escort is a body of armed men to attend a person of distinction for the sake of affording safety when on a journey; one who conducts some one as an attendant; a guard, as of prisoners on a march; also, a body of persons, attending as a mark of respect or honor; -- applied to movements on land, as convoy is to movements at sea.


X escorts Y when X travels with Y and remains with Y the entire time, to ensure Y makes it to Y's destination. It can sometimes carry the implication Y is required to go where X wants under threat of force. It's unusual for this to be used where X and Y aren't a person or armored/military vehicles.

An escort can mean one who escorts someone as a service. It is also a euphemism for a (typically non-street level) prostitute especially if A) the one being escorted is male, B) the one doing the escorting is female, and C) the context is not any of military, jail/prison, protection, bodyguard, or personal/physical security. In these contexts you have nothing to worry about. But be particularly careful with the term "escort service".

X accompanies Y just means X will follow Y without the "make sure Y is safe/gets there OK" implication (or other implications) of escort. It's possible for X/Y here to be objects or services, and that general means if you obtain X, Y will be included with it, or that X and Y are part of an inseparable set or group.

  • Indeed, if I escort one of my granddaughters to the frozen custard shop, one could also say she accompanies me there. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:52

LawrenceC gives an excellent answer, but I would add that if you escort someone, you are typically protecting him from some threat or ensuring that he goes, even if he is not going willingly.

In the recent United Airlines case, the police arrived to escort the recalcitrant passenger from the flight.

Accompany is connected with companion, from com-, together, and panis, bread, someone you eat with. If you accompany someone, you are -- at least ostensibly -- going as his friend.

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