I know that 同事 means colleague, but I have seen 同儕 and 同僚 used in similar context. Below are random examples of each I found on google:



Are these words interchangeable? If not, how do their meaning differ? In what context is each word used?

Thanks in advance!

  • iciba:iciba: 侪[书] (同辈; 同类的人) fellows ; associates we; people like us 吾侪 同僚:associate ; colleague ; fellow official 同事: colleague ; co-worker ; workmate ; 同侪 bookish term meaning peer, see above therefore 同僚 refers to fellow bureaocrats( 官僚),government officials,senators , 同事 general widely used term for coworker
    – user6065
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 5:57

2 Answers 2


同事 is the most common, plain one. it simply means people you work with or people in the same company as you do. It could be used no matter it is a everyday conversation, a quite formal business meeting or a HR policy notice.

同儕(同侪) means peers or fellows. Strictly it should be used to refer people in the same generation of you, i.e. siblings or cousins. Nowadays, it is often used in the workplace or other contexts when a sense of fraternity is preferable.

同僚 also means colleague. But it's more often used in politic settings in the old times. Nowadays, it can be used in the workplace in general but I feel such usage is more common in Taiwan or Hong Kong than the mainland. Personally, it feels it's more appropriate for two managers call each other that than two interns do. Or you can say this one is more fancy than 同事.

Additionally, there is another word 同仁 which equals to 同人 also means colleague. They mean to refer the people who share something in common with you professionally. E.g. works in the same company or occupation. And it is a respectful term with a sense of fraternity. But it more often to be used as a collective term for a group of people rather than a specific person. So 一个同仁 is not very common.

  • In this context ,同仁 is more common than 同人。It means they have same goals or dreams, and they all work for it。So two persons in a multinational firm could call each other 同仁,even they don't know each other and never met. It is a CPC-less 同志。btw,ACG fans use 同人 frequently。
    – sfy
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:09
  • @Jacob True. Thanks for mentioning that. I forgot to say that. I didn't know 同仁 and 同人 are interchangeable in this sense until I cheked out my dictionary. Personally I'd only use 同仁 since 同人 has been heavily influenced by ACG subculture and bended as 同志 in gay community which could cause ambiguity in this modern international context. Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:48

Besides all the comments from other users. I would like to add my own experience (I am native mainland Chinese) on this matter:

  1. 同僚: Used more often before, almost never seen nowadays unless people intent to have satire meaning (derogatory sense). I would add some reference when I get a chance.
  2. 同事: Almost used ubiquitously for all the meaning people mentioned in modern society - anyone who works with you officially in the same company is referred to this way. Notice in terms of semantics, 同事 is in direct contrast to 朋友 (friends) - much as in western society I guess. But you may consider this a personal opinion because degrees vary. The point is, the subtlety of those terms really is a semantical one because most words in Chinese are not defined by dictionary, but by culture.

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