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I thought that's what it means, but Dictionary.com says that it can also mean

  1. One's fellow human being: to be generous toward one's less fortunate neighbors.
  2. A person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.

Basically I was asking Christians why they translated the Hebrew word rhea as "neighbor" given that it means "comrade".

Turns out, the word neighbor in English also has the secondary meaning of "comrade", though I think the main meaning is "he who lives nearby".

So how accurate are these secondary meanings of the word neighbor?

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Neighbor is used as the dictionary shows, but it's a specialised use with religious connotations. – Andrew Leach May 13 '13 at 11:22
For those of us who don't subscribe to the religious denotations of "neighbor", "brother", "sister", & "father", neighbor means someone who lives in my neighborhood fairly close to my dwelling. Any other meaning is merely an extension of the original meaning, near dweller. People who help strangers are altruists. _Neighbor is a euphemism for stranger in the two cases you cite. – user21497 May 13 '13 at 12:24
@Kris John 19:22. – Andrew Leach May 13 '13 at 12:32
In addition to religious connotations (based on biblical passages), neighbor is often used metaphorically. – Hot Licks Dec 28 '15 at 22:43
And in parts of the United States, "neighbor" is sometimes used colloquially to establish down-home bona fides and to signify good will, even to total strangers. In the 1960s, Wolf Brand Chili was famous across Texas for its TV commercials that began "Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a thick, steamin' bowl full of Wolf Brand Chili?"—as this YouTube video demonstrates. – Sven Yargs Dec 29 '15 at 5:46

The first element of neighbor is indeed OE néah, "near", reflected in ModE nigh (and ModE near in fact descends from néar, "nearer", the comparative grade of néah).

But neighbor has been used since at least the 10th century to translate both BH רֵעַ and NT Greek πλησίον.

The Greek (which was also often used to translate רֵעַ and is used in contexts which echo the BH term) means "near", as an adjective and as a noun. This in turn is translated proximus, "nearest", in the Vulgate, which was the source for all English translations down to the 15th century. (Some OE translations in fact use niehsta, the superlative grade of néah.) Neighbor was thus a very reasonable translation, and was fully established before scholars like Tyndale and his successors turned to the original languages.

See OED 1.

And really, from a rhetorical perspective, it's not that bad a use. The Hebrew generally refers not so much to a "friend" as to "another member of the community"; and the specifically Christian twist on this is that we're all members of the same community.

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noun a person living next door to or very near to the speaker or person referred to: our garden was the envy of the neighbours
a person or place in relation to others next or near to it: I chatted with my neighbour on the flight to New York
matching our investment levels with those of our European neighbours

any person in need of one’s help or kindness (after biblical use): love thy neighbour as thyself

The meaning cited by OP in the question is just one of the many meanings of the word, and is not the primary sense.

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I'll get directly to the point and differentiate between comrades and neighbors.

Comrades actually means companions or friends, and most of the time, if you see meaning of comrades it's more about sharing. But in case of neighbors, they live near you, but that doesn't imply they will be your true companion.

In short, sharing aspect differentiates comrades and neighbors.

See the comments in this link, and you will get your answer.

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Of course, the link given is to the OP's own question on another SE site. – Andrew Leach May 13 '13 at 11:51
that's the question why same question again ?? – Ravindra Shekhawat May 13 '13 at 12:07
More to the point, comments on SE sites are temporary and are therefore not a good reliable source to cite. – MετάEd May 13 '13 at 12:09
let me make the point if i answered those comments here directly you might have down vote me again to copy some one else answer.I already faced the same issue so many times.Its more about solving the problem right now and for information i already made my point i was just providing link to improve my answer. – Ravindra Shekhawat May 13 '13 at 12:22


neighbour or (N Amer) neighbor noun
1. someone near or next door to one.
2. an adjacent territory or person, etc.
3. old use any of one's fellow humans • Love your neighbour.
neighbouring adj
1. nearby.
2. adjoining.

(Kris has already quoted the definition from ODO.)

It seems to me that there are primarily three related, but distinct, meanings:

  1. Person living next door or nearby [We all seem to be agreed on this].
  2. "adjoining" — mentioned in passing in Kris's quotation (from ODO), as in neighbouring country, neighbouring town, etc.
  3. "fellow humans" — note that Chambers refers to this as old use, not biblical use.

Personally, I would say that the third usage is rare, but where that meaning is being invoked it would surprising if it were not clear from the context.

I don't think that any of these meanings are close to "comrade" (as suggested in the original question), and specifically not "comrades" in the sense of "companion or friends" (as suggested by Ravindra).

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