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I would like to know if addressing an American with the word 'buddy' would be considered offensive. If the answer is yes then would it be considered offensive by an American irrespective of the context and tone or would that matter?

  • It can be offensive, if used in a sentence like "Listen buddy ...". But saying that Fred is your buddy is actually complimentary. – Hot Licks Jan 23 at 16:07
  • Heh heh. I'm not your buddy, friend. youtube.com/watch?v=tRfKdNxIOcQ – puppetsock Jan 23 at 17:48
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That's going to depend on tone of voice.

Hey, buddy, get off my car!

This usage is condescending; especially when you don't know the person. Expect it to be replied with "I'm not your buddy, pal!".


Hey, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddy.
— Pauly Shore

This usage is friendly, though people will probably question your intelligence.


I went to the lake with a buddy of mine and we fished for a while.

This usage is colloquial and would not offend anyone.

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Hailnames are extremely fraught. There is some good discussion at Is there a word for colloquial forms of address? -- in short, there are none that cannot be misunderstood. The exact situational use, tone, and social details affect their interpretation deeply, and in ways users often are not consciously aware.

As a colloquial word for friend, as in "My buddies came over to play some board games", it is not offensive. Strictly speaking, it can apply broadly, but it is almost always used to indicate friends who are men, and who one is not romantically involved with.

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No, it is not offensive:

Buddy (North American English also bud) (informal) a friend.

  • an old college buddy of mine

  • Howard and Mick were drinking buddies.

  • We were good buddies.

(OLD)

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  • In my brief experience of Scuba diving I was told that I should always dive with a buddy who would look after me as I would be expected to look after him. – JeremyC Jan 24 at 22:56

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