Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the main causes of human mortalities globally after heart disease and stroke. There is increasing evidence of an aetiological association between COPD and pneumonia, the leading infectious cause of death globally in children under 5 years. In this review, we discuss the known risk factors of COPD that are also shared with pneumonia including smoking, air pollution, age and immune suppression. We review how lung pathology linked to a previous history of pneumonia may heighten susceptibility to the development of COPD in later life. Furthermore, we examine how specific aspects of COPD immunology could contribute to the manifestation of pneumonia. Based on the available evidence, a convergent relationship is becoming apparent with respect to the pathogenesis of COPD and pneumonia. This has implications for the management of both diseases, and the development of new interventions.