- the officer of a merchant vessel next in command beneath the captain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for first mate
After the first greetings the first-mate began to look round the cabin.
“You had better leave it to us, Morgan,” said the first-mate.
“Ye must take keer, cap,” responded the first-mate to this confession.The Island Treasure
John Conroy Hutcheson
"We had a narrow squeak of it, Mr. Ryan," he said to the first-mate.Maori and Settler
G. A. Henty
The first-mate, Lapworth, also became a favourite with us all.Five Years in New Zealand
Robert B. Booth
- an officer second in command to the captain of a merchant shipAlso called: first officer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012