Etymology: Middle English confrere (compare frere, Friar), < French confrere (13th cent. in Littré) = Provençal confraire, Catalan confrare, Spanish co(n)frade, Italian confrate, medieval Latin confrāter, < con- together with + frāter brother. As a naturalized English word (of which the pronunciation would now be /kɒnˈfrɪə(r)/ or /-ˈfraɪə(r)/ ) it appears to have become obsolete in 17th cent.; but it has been taken back into frequent use as a borrowing from modern French, and is usually written confrère.
1. A fellow-member of a fraternity, religious order, college, guild, etc., a colleague in office.
2. A fellow-member of a learned profession, scientific body, or the like. [ < modern French.] (OED)
"The paradox is that, just as Thomas Pynchon or Don DeLillo dramatizes paranoia with a texture of specificity, the paranoid types are, in their own way, often much more empirically minded - willing to follow the evidence where it leads, even if that is right through the looking glass - than their more cautious confreres. it is, in other words, possible to construct an intricate scenario that is both cautiously inferential, richly detailed, on its own terms complete, and yet utterly delusional."
- Adam Gopnik, "Closer than that: the assassination of J.F.K., fifty years later", 4 November 2013 The New Yorker