I was wondering where the term, "mate," is most popular? When I think of the term, "mate," I think of Australia and England, but I was wondering if anyone else has some input on this.

Mate here is defined as meaning anybody. I do not mean the verb nor do I mean it as a spouse. Example in a sentence: "Hey, mate, can you give me a hand with this?"

Thank you all in advance.

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    I've only heard it used in the US by Aussies (and the occasional Aussie wannabe). (I've worked closely with several Brits over the years and never heard it out of them.) – Hot Licks Nov 4 '14 at 1:45
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    I've lived all over the USA, and the only person I've ever heard use that term in person recently moved here from England. – T.E.D. Nov 4 '14 at 2:28
  • I've heard many people from Australia use it, but I've also heard it in parts of England when I've been there. – Spencer D Nov 4 '14 at 2:32
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    Look here thedialectdictionary.com/search/words/mate One may also need to search in different ways here to get more details. Good Luck. – Kris Nov 4 '14 at 5:47
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    Divided by language :) languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3380#comment-134567 (Colin Reid, Aug. 23, 2011) – Kris Nov 5 '14 at 4:34

I was wondering where the term, "mate," is most popular?

Only among the English, Kiwis (people from New Zealand) and Aussies (people from Australia), as far as I'm aware.

I'd say it's "most" associated with Australians, perhaps because it forms part of an iconic Australian greeting;

G'day mate!

Incidentally, the term mate in this context came into the English lexicon via sailors in the 18th century. Presumably that's why it's commonly associated with pirates.


I hope that answers your question.

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    Supporting evidence? Whether right or wrong, without it this does not answer a question on SE EL&U. – David Dec 2 '19 at 22:35
  • @David what supporting evidence do you have for that statement? – quant Dec 4 '19 at 9:49
  • SE Boilerplate: "We're looking for answers that provide some explanation and context. Please explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed." In a nutshell, neither the poster nor anyone else can judge the correctness of an answer which lacks supporting evidence or logical argument, but is merely an expression of an opinion. – David Dec 4 '19 at 10:29
  • @David I think even you'd admit that's got absolutely diddly to do with anything. – quant Dec 4 '19 at 11:55
  • I appreciate that your main interest is in Stack Overflow, where the voting criteria are more important than here because people vote for answers if the code works for them (or at least I do). This is not appropriate on other SE sites, where votes may only reflect the idiocy of crowds. The comment to your old post was really to be fair to the recent poster (@NeilB) whom I criticized on similar grounds. If you are really interested in the argument, see my comment to him. – David Dec 4 '19 at 13:52

The Collins online dictionary (definition 3)says that it is mainly used in England, Australia and New Zealand. As a native speaker of BrE, my impression is that it was more commonly used in England in the 1950s than it is now. I have rarely heard it used by what we might snobbishly call 'educated' people of my generation (over sixty), though my son and his male friends (mid to late thirties) use it sometimes of their friends and, occasionally, as a form of address.


"Mate" used as: "Auwl-wite mate! Ow's it goin?" [How is life going...] or "Ow you dooin?" [How are you getting on...], being a term of greeting between North, South and East Londoners and a large number of Essex (Thames "Estuary-English" speaking) residents.

Its use is mainly by white-working class males when jovially greeting both friends and persons-unknown at high volume, although can also be heard issuing from females and other ethnic groups.

  • Supporting evidence? Whether right or wrong, without it this does not answer a question on SE EL&U. – David Dec 2 '19 at 22:36
  • Is 50 years of personal experience, having to deal with people that abuse the English language when speaking to me in this way good enough? – NeilB Dec 4 '19 at 12:53
  • Not here. Many of us felt that way when we first encountered SE EL&U and feel a little offended when they get a comment with the standard boilerplate I reproduced for @quant, above. But this site is not a discussion site but a question and answer site, and the only basis people have to judge your answers is the evidence or argument you bring to them. This makes it more of an effort to answer — and one needs to think whether a question deserves the effort — but one needs to adapt to contribute to the site.(And I have more years of personal experience than you, but I can still be mistaken.) – David Dec 4 '19 at 13:46

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