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See also: Matey



From mate +‎ -y.


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪti


matey (comparative matier, superlative matiest)

  1. (UK) Sociable or friendly.
    You've been very matey with that new bird.
    • 1948, Dennis Wheatley, The Haunting of Toby Jugg, published 2007, page 148:
      She asked in what sort of accident I had broken my back, and when I told her that I had been shot down she became much more matey.
    • 1995, Gwynneth Latham, Michael C. Latham, Kilimanjaro Tales: The Saga of a Medical Family in Africa, page 140:
      We decided that it would be more matey to have communal meals, so all the guests and hosts foregathered at the hotel for lunches and dinners, and at every sitting there were about 40 of us, all in high spirits.
    • 2002, Jon Latimer, Alamein, page 128,
      he[Major-General Douglas Wimberley] wrote: ‘They[the Australians] took a bit of getting used to. I was dressed as a general and they treated me in the most matey way, but despite this it was easy to see that there was nothing wrong with their battle discipline.’
    • 2002, Alan Di Perna, Guitar World, Guitar World Presents: Pink Floyd, page 29:
      His opening salvo, “If you didn′t care what happened to me, and I didn′t care for you,” gives way to a more matey mood at the end: “You know that I care what happens to you. And I know that you care for me.”
    • 2005, Donald H. Akenson, An Irish History of Civilization, volume 2, page 293:
      Adolphus Egerton Ryerson was his full name, but he insisted on being called Egerton Ryerson, under the mistaken conviction that this was much more matey than Adolphus.


matey (plural mateys)

  1. (informal) Diminutive of mate, friend.
    Hello, matey, just back from the pub?
    • 1909, National Magazine, volume 30, page 171:
      “No, no, matey, I means no harm. Ye see, I think I done ye a bad turn onst, an′ I′m minded t′ do ye right afore I goes off. You bring a writer here, matey, an′ I′ll tell ye what.”
    • 1920, Francis Stevens (Gertrude Barrows Bennett), Claimed, 2009, Munsey′s, page 49,
      And take my advice, matey. When yer buys it, don′t yer make Lutz′s mistake and think yer can wriggle out easy.
    • 1981, Wright Morris, Writing My Life: An Autobiography, page 247:
      “You've got great legs, matey,” he said to me. “You know that?” They were good straight legs, and could run, but I had always thought them too much on the lean side.
  2. (nautical, slang) A fellow sailor; often used affectedly, especially when portraying a pirate.
    Ahoy mateys, scrub the deck!
    • c. 1906, Herbert Strang (pseudonym), In Clive′s Command, 2006, Echo Library, page 35,
      “Well, we are and we en′t, eh, mateys? The Waterman′s Rest en′t exactly the kind of place to spend shore leave; it en′t a patch on Wapping or Rotherhithe. []
    • 1979, Larona Homer, “Blackbeard the Pirate”, in Blackbeard the Pirate and Other Stories of the Pine Barrens, page 91:
      “Well, Mateys,” he said, “heave to. Rum for all.”
      The pirates grabbed their bottles, and as they drank they began to sing and laugh and shout at each other.
    • 2003, Paul Abbaszadeh, One Love: A True Love Story, page 318:
      Soon the talking skull came into view and gave us a warning,
      “Avast there, it be to late to alter course mateys and there be plundering pirates lurking in every cove waiting to board. []
    • 2010, Molly Burkhart, My Gigolo, unnumbered page:
      “Ahoy, mateys!” The chorus came from all sides, and he fought the urge to snicker.
      She nudged him with her elbow, and he looked down to find her eyes twinkling.
      “Hope you brushed up on your pirate lingo. The desk is over there. I gotta go use the little wench′s room.”
      He watched her go with a grin and nearly laughed again when he saw the signs on the bathroom doors. Wenches and Mateys. Good God.
  3. (nautical, slang) A dockyard worker.
    • 1979, Alfred Draper, Operation Fish: The Race to Save Europe's Wealth, 1939-1945, page 48:
      He got the dockyard 'mateys' to install a primitive form of steam heating which he had seen in Navy ships []
    • 2011, Gordon W. Stead, A Leaf upon the Sea, page 63:
      Mediterranean peoples are thought to be excitable, but the Maltese stood up to the blitz with great aplomb, especially the dghaisa men who plowed back and forth across the harbours regardless of the raids, the mateys who made the devastated dockyard work, and all who served in units of the armed forces.





  1. Obsolete spelling of matei