The different meannings of "mate." How do you use it?

69 replies
Found 30th Apr 2008
In a recent post (Irish logic) I made a point about ethnic jokes and got the response: "Get your neck in mate." This got me thinking about the various uses and meanings of address terms such as 'mate' and 'pal', especially since they are not used where I come from. In fact, growing up in Northern Ireland, the only time I would hear the word 'mate' as a term of address was from the mouths of British soldiers who stopped us at checkpoints etc. As kids, I remember if we playacted "the brits" (as they were known) we would just have to throw in the term 'mate' to make it clear who we were parodying (even if our fake English accents did come out like a cross between an Australian and a German!). I understand that the terms can be used in various ways depending on context, tone etc. They would also appear to be 'classed' terms. i.e. you wouldn't expect politicians to use them, etc. But what do you think about these terms and their useage? Do you use the term 'mate' or 'pal', and if so how? Is it to show (class) allegiance? Perhaps to encourage someone? Maybe even to aggressively make a point? Perhaps it sometimes means "You are no better than me. You may think yourself superior, but I am just as good as you." How do you emply such terms and do you consider them a good way of making a point?

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i like to say "alreet mate!"

when im in a bar im usally say to the women something along teh lines of "can I mate you"

brb playing gta.

I blame Neighbours!

Original Poster

guerilla;1997667

i like to say "alreet mate!"



Yes, when people from the NE use it this way, it always strikes me as being very friendly and open to starting a conversation.

Original Poster

black gerbil1;1997674

when im in a bar im usally say to the women something along teh lines of … when im in a bar im usally say to the women something along teh lines of "can I mate you"brb playing gta.



hehe - back to GTA mate!

nightswimmer;1997683

I blame Neighbours!



Expect something better than that from you NS...:whistling:

I think you're trying to over analyse it mate ;-)

Original Poster

Shengis;1997702
I think you're trying to over analyse it mate ;-)


No such thing as over analyis pal . Just analysis and no analysis. :thumbsup:

black gerbil1;1997674

when im in a bar im usally say to the women something along teh lines of … when im in a bar im usally say to the women something along teh lines of "can I mate you"brb playing gta.



laughed out very loud there! haha!!

dont use mate in real life... but in cyber land....ie forums its hard to show u like someone so gotta drop in some cheesy words like mate. cant really say... 'o u r a jolly nice chap to speak to' easier to say 'nice one mate.'

looking back at above.... i really dont like the word mate... ok... im no gonna use that... gona stick to dude.... my californian niece implanted that in my brain a few months back when she came over.

Most of the people I know that live in the Midlands tend to use the term mate when they are annoyed with someone and arguing their point. I haven't really heard it used as an endearment too often.
I never use the term myself and neither does my husband, who is Welsh by the way. I can't recall any Welsh people using the term mate either, the Welsh tend to use the tem butt or butty instead of mate.

Original Poster

magicbeans;1997710

laughed out very loud there! haha!!dont use mate in real life... but in … laughed out very loud there! haha!!dont use mate in real life... but in cyber land....ie forums its hard to show u like someone so gotta drop in some cheesy words like mate. cant really say... 'o u r a jolly nice chap to speak to' easier to say 'nice one mate.'looking back at above.... i really dont like the word mate... ok... im no gonna use that... gona stick to dude.... my californian niece implanted that in my brain a few months back when she came over.



Hmmm... yes, funny isn't it. I like dude better too. It always seems to be used in a non-agressive and friendly way (images of dopey surfers only interested in living for the moment). But mate conjures up a whole host of competing images for me, many of them negative.

i think it is does sound really friendly and if i ever needed any anything from someone i dont know (bar man, shop assistant asking directions etc.) id always say either "excuse me mate" and end it with "cheers mate"

its not all good cant count the number of times little chav kids will say "alreet mate lendiz a tab ew"

i never realised how much i said it till i went to uni and it was brought to me attention

doesnt sound right when women say it...imho... and defo very werid when a guy calls a girl 'mate'

Liddle ol' me;1997708
No such thing as over analyis pal . Just analysis and no analysis. :thumbsup:


Don't you be giving me 'pal' :x


:lol:

I mainly use the term mate(or more usually matey) as a term of endearment,it is also not gender specific and can be used as a less 'full on' term,so to speak(I hope that made sense!)

It can also be used to calm a potentially difficult situation,say where there has been a misunderstanding and a fall out could be on the horizon.It lets the other person know that despite evryting you are going to be friends afterwards.

Pal is not a term I use,really.

So matey,does that explain things?:)

magicbeans;1997726

doesnt sound right when women say it...imho... and defo very werid when a … doesnt sound right when women say it...imho... and defo very werid when a guy calls a girl 'mate'



Totally agree with you there.
My husband went through a stage of calling me buddy all the time, he thought it was a nice thing to call me, I was totally freaked out lol!

Original Poster

caz1cool;1997719

Most of the people I know that live in the Midlands tend to use the term … Most of the people I know that live in the Midlands tend to use the term mate when they are annoyed with someone and arguing their point. I haven't really heard it used as an endearment too often. I never use the term myself and neither does my husband, who is Welsh by the way. I can't recall any Welsh people using the term mate either, the Welsh tend to use the tem butt or butty instead of mate.



Hmm.. makes me think that's partly why it's easier to take terms of address from far away (e.g. Californian 'dude') that have no such associations for us. But I guess the terms butt and butty are used agrressively too?

mate makes u think of chavvy people... NO OFFENCE... but it does to me.....

dude is dopey surfers, like liddle ol me said.

pal, is a bit old man...

chap... is the grandad from wherthers original

buddy can sound a bit too close... bud is more acceptable... but still not generic enough to use.

hun: women can say to each other..weird for a guy to use to a girl thats a mate..haha i mean friend!

caz1cool;1997747

Totally agree with you there.My husband went through a stage of calling … Totally agree with you there.My husband went through a stage of calling me buddy all the time, he thought it was a nice thing to call me, I was totally freaked out lol!



bless him trying to be sweet.....

i like matey

magicbeans;1997761

mate makes u think of chavvy people... NO OFFENCE... but it does to … mate makes u think of chavvy people... NO OFFENCE... but it does to me.....



Hmmm. Well mate is a friendly term, pal is more aggressive. We call each other chav, but in the gypsy sense. Nothing wrong with being a chav (in the real sense);-)

Banned

I hate walking into a shop and someone saying 'Yes Sir?', 'Can I help you Sir?'....

You know they are forced to say it, therefore loath saying it and you know they don't mean it....far too fake and formal....

walking into a shop and someone going 'can I help you mate?' etc, always sounds better to me and makes me stay, Sir just annoys me!

maybe its just me but there's something more 'Real' in 'Mate'

Shengis;1997779

Hmmm. Well mate is a friendly term, pal is more aggressive. We call each … Hmmm. Well mate is a friendly term, pal is more aggressive. We call each other chav, but in the gypsy sense. Nothing wrong with being a chav )in the real sense);-)



pal...yeah guess its a bit more aggressive...reminds me of snatch and those sorta movies! haha

u wanna be a chav shengis?!

I don't use it in real life, but find myself using it on the net occasionally. The way I use it I guess it meant as a way of addressing someone in a disarming kind of way that indicates that although we are strangers, we are not enemies/opponents.

Liddle ol' me;1997693

Expect something better than that from you NS...:whistling:



Sorry Liddle ol'me. Hope the above is better. :oops:

Having said that. although I was joking, there was actually some truth in my original answer.

Where I grew up, you never heard the word 'Mate' used at all. It wasn't until after Neighbours was first shown on TV (back when it was hugely popular), that people started to use the word.

ODB_69;1997780

I hate walking into a shop and someone saying 'Yes Sir?', 'Can I help you … I hate walking into a shop and someone saying 'Yes Sir?', 'Can I help you Sir?'....You know they are forced to say it, therefore loath saying it and you know they don't mean it....far too fake and formal....walking into a shop and someone going 'can I help you mate?' etc, always sounds better to me and makes me stay, Sir just annoys me!maybe its just me but there's something more 'Real' in 'Mate'



ooooooooo gotta agree with u there.... madam is evil and makes me feel 50 years old!!! call me girl, call me child, call me my mummy cos im too young to shop on my own! hehe.... ok mid life crisis at 27 here!

Liddle ol' me;1997752

Hmm.. makes me think that's partly why it's easier to take terms of … Hmm.. makes me think that's partly why it's easier to take terms of address from far away (e.g. Californian 'dude') that have no such associations for us. But I guess the terms butt and butty are used agrressively too?



I'm not too sure, I would presume so but have never witnessed this myself. My husband, although Welsh never uses the term.
I can remember when I was first introduced to my mother in law, she told me that my husband used to be a very 'tidy' rugby player. I thought, what the hell does she mean? that he was dressed smart? had a decent hair cut? she actually meant that he was a good player. Obviously I now realise that 'tidy' is often used to describe something good by the Welsh, in the midlands it means neat, like it should lol!

Banned

magicbeans;1997761

mate makes u think of chavvy people... NO OFFENCE... but it does to … mate makes u think of chavvy people... NO OFFENCE... but it does to me.....





I think it depends how its said/accents etc

I'm brummie originally and everyone says it in Brum and surrounding areas. Think its just a very popular midlands thing

Chav's just say it along with 'got a fag...?'

Original Poster

Shengis;1997727

Don't you be giving me 'pal' :x:



You startin', pal? Outside now, mate!

muckypup;1997745

I mainly use the term mate(or more usually matey) as a term of … I mainly use the term mate(or more usually matey) as a term of endearment, So matey,does that explain things?:)



Perfectly - thanks dude :thumbsup:


guerilla;1997724

i think it is does sound really friendly and if i ever needed any … i think it is does sound really friendly and if i ever needed any anything from someone i dont know (bar man, shop assistant asking directions etc.) id always say either "excuse me mate" and end it with "cheers mate" i never realised how much i said it till i went to uni and it was brought to me attention



Yes, I think when it's unconsciously employed as a habit, it tends to have a positive useage. Once you are made aware of it as an aspect of your speech, it becomes a little more tricky...

ODB_69;1997780

I hate walking into a shop and someone saying 'Yes Sir?', 'Can I help you … I hate walking into a shop and someone saying 'Yes Sir?', 'Can I help you Sir?'....You know they are forced to say it, therefore loath saying it and you know they don't mean it....far too fake and formal....



That surely depends on the person though. e.g. In that situation I would be far more comfortable calling someone "sir" than I would be calling them "mate".

magicbeans;1997796

ooooooooo gotta agree with u there.... madam is evil and makes me feel 50 … ooooooooo gotta agree with u there.... madam is evil and makes me feel 50 years old!!! call me girl, call me child, call me my mummy cos im too young to shop on my own! hehe.... ok mid life crisis at 27 here!



You're the same age as me magicbeans

oo just thought of something worse than when a man calls a woman mate... and thats the word 'darling'

sorry i hate it!

im talking about random blokes ...ie delivery guys or randomers in shops etc...

Liddle ol' me;1997808

You startin', pal? Outside now, mate!



:w00t: :lol:

@Magicbeans. I am a chav, but not a burberry chav. Research the word and put it in context with my avatar ;-):whistling:

caz1cool;1997818

You're the same age as me magicbeans



rmbr the first tim i was called 'lady' in a shop and not a girl .... hated that as well!!!

woohoo to the 27 year olds.. im 28 in sept

Original Poster

Shengis;1997779

Hmmm. Well mate is a friendly term, pal is more aggressive. We call each … Hmmm. Well mate is a friendly term, pal is more aggressive. We call each other chav, but in the gypsy sense. Nothing wrong with being a chav (in the real sense);-)



What's the gypsy sense? And btw, the use of chav is another interesting one. Generally very derogatory and demeaning of the working class in general. That's why I hate to see people using it. It demeans everyone and buys into negative working-class stereotypes

nightswimmer;1997794

The way I use it I guess it meant as a way of addressing someone in a … The way I use it I guess it meant as a way of addressing someone in a disarming kind of way that indicates that although we are strangers, we are not enemies/opponents.



this is a very good description of how see the use of the word

Shengis;1997833

@Magicbeans. I am a chav, but not a burberry chav. Research the word and … @Magicbeans. I am a chav, but not a burberry chav. Research the word and put it in context with my avatar ;-):whistling:



You're Kate Moss? :w00t: I knew it! ;-) Oh wait, not burberry chav. :oops:

Shengis;1997833

:w00t: :lol:@Magicbeans. I am a chav, but not a burberry chav. Research … :w00t: :lol:@Magicbeans. I am a chav, but not a burberry chav. Research the word and put it in context with my avatar ;-):whistling:



ur avatar is hot.... not gonna associate baseball cap wearing, soverign ring wearing, anorexic, pasty kids with that! nooooooooooo!!!

nightswimmer;1997816

That surely depends on the person though. e.g. In that situation I would … That surely depends on the person though. e.g. In that situation I would be far more comfortable calling someone "sir" than I would be calling them "mate".



for me it would depend on the person i was helping, if they were around the same age as me i wouldn't feel comfortable saying sir

As I understand it,the term 'chav' originates from Romany.

Although nowadays it is more often used as a derogatory term.

magicbeans;1997834

rmbr the first tim i was called 'lady' in a shop and not a girl .... … rmbr the first tim i was called 'lady' in a shop and not a girl .... hated that as well!!!woohoo to the 27 year olds.. im 28 in sept



Yeah I can remember that too, it felt very strange. I'm 28 in October.

I hate it when random blokes call you sweetheart, darling, lovey or any of those smarmy type of endearments.

Liddle ol' me;1997835

What's the gypsy sense? And btw, the use of chav is another interesting … What's the gypsy sense? And btw, the use of chav is another interesting one. Generally very derogatory and demeaning of the working class in general. That's why I hate to see people using it. It demeans everyone and buys into negative working-class stereotypes



As with most gypsy words, it's a multi context one that's meant to confuse 'gorgies'. In the basic form it means child, but it also translates to mate, brother, whatever. A general greeting that's basically been *******ised by the press.
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