Is there any difference? Why would you say authors guild and not authors association?

  • 1
    English has very, very few true synonyms: if the words are different, then the guidance is that there will be a difference in meaning and/or nuance. I suggest that you look at the history of "the guilds" in Europe and the meaning of the verb "to associate."
    – Greybeard
    Feb 16, 2021 at 18:23
  • @Greybeard - You have summed this up nicely. People often ask "If A means B, a synonym of C, can't I use ...?" Feb 16, 2021 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


Obviously "correct" usage is whatever [the group in question's] founders originally decided to call themselves (there are also Federations, Fellowships, Societies, Unions, etc.)

Guild has a somewhat archaic flavour, but a newly-formed group might choose it simply to imply a long and distinguished history. It also has stronger overtones of the members being [traditional] craftsmen with tradeable skills and/or products.

Association may imply a looser (often predominantly commercial) relationship between members.


Guild is the word used for "an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal." It is then a word that has a more specific meaning than association.

The other meanings of guild are "a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power" and (in ecology) "a group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community." (Both of them don't apply in the specific case.)


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.