Colleague vs Coworker – What’s the difference?

Colleague vs Coworker

The word “Colleague” was used before the word “Coworker” came into use. These words are sometimes used interchangeably, especially in a business setting or environment, because they are synonymous in a way. In comparing Colleague vs Coworker, you have to understand that both seem the same, but they have a difference.

Now let’s go about their differences one after the other and how to use them the right way.

Colleague vs Coworker

Meaning of Colleague:

This is a borrowed word from the French language. Its original word is ‘Collègue.’ It is used to refer to a business partner or someone with the same profession.

When looking at it generally, it seems like you could use the word with anyone who works in the same business environment as you, but it is not meant to be used that way as your boss in the office or the gateman where you work can’t be your Colleague.

We have colleagues in school as teachers; they have the same rank and are pursuing the agenda to get people educated. But teachers are not colleagues with the headmistress or the school principal. The same way with lecturers and professors and the vice-chancellor.


  • My Colleague qualified for a promotion.
  • Thelma’s mother’s colleagues are all middle-aged.

Colleague vs Coworker

Meaning of Coworker

This is the term that you can use with anyone in the business environment or setting. The word ‘Co’ is a suffix that means to work together to achieve a particular goal.

Anyone you meet in your business arena is your coworker because you work together to achieve a purpose. Your boss or manager could be your coworker because you might get to work on the same project, so he becomes your coworker.


  • My coworkers all went to the company party last night.
  • My coworkers and I weren’t paid last month.

Significant Differences in Colleague vs Coworker

  • A Colleague is someone in the same profession as you, like your fellow teachers or fellow bankers.
  • A Coworker is one who works with you in the same office and may not even have the same rank as you.

Read this: Adress or Address – Which is correct?

Final tips:

These two words seem confusing, but what matters is the context of usage. Colleague seems more personal than coworker.

In some contexts, a colleague can be someone who you work closely with on a project while a coworker can be someone who works on the same project with you but not closely with you.

Read this: Recieve or Receive – Which is correct?

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