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Mate is a colloquialism used to refer to a friend and is commonly used in the United Kingdommarker, Australia, New Zealandmarker, South Africa and Irelandmarker. It is or has been used interchangeably with many equivalent terms, such as buddy (popular in United Statesmarker/Canadamarker), pal (Scottish) or cobber (Australian/New Zealand only - originally derived from Yiddish, now rare).


Mate is a colloquialism with German or English origins. It is theorised that it started with use by dock workers in the Victorian era. It might also be derived from the Dutch word "maat" which means the same as mate in English.

In Australia, the use of "mate" and the subsequent concept of "mateship", conceptualised a widespread egalitarian ethos, especially among working class white males.


Mate is widely used among men in the United Kingdommarker, Australia, New Zealandmarker, and Irelandmarker to address male strangers as a nicety. It is increasingly used in European countries such as Germany, Italy, Turkey and Spain. In other English-speaking countries, such as the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, mate is generally seen as referring to a person's spouse (when used as a noun) or a zoological term for copulation (when used as a verb). However words like classmate, roommate and shipmate, which remain in common usage around the world, keep the original meaning. In the sense of referring to a friend the term is informal and is a mild endearment, though it can be used ironically as an accompaniment to an aggressive or rude statement.

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