[ buhd-ee ]
/ ˈbʌd i /
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noun, plural bud·dies.
comrade or chum (often used as a term of address).
verb (used without object), bud·died, bud·dy·ing.
to be a companion; be friendly or on intimate terms.
Verb Phrases
buddy up,
  1. to become friendly; be on friendly or intimate terms.
  2. to work closely together: to buddy up with a student from another high school.
buddy up to, to become friendly with or curry the favor of: He was buddying up to the political bosses.
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Origin of buddy

1840–50, Americanism; perhaps reduced form of brother

Other definitions for buddy (2 of 2)

[ buhd-ee ]
/ ˈbʌd i /

a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does buddy mean?

Buddy is most commonly used as an informal word for a friend.

Buddy is often used as a form of address (as in Hey, buddy, I haven’t seen you in a while!) or a term of endearment (an affectionate way of referring to someone). It is sometimes shortened to bud. Buddy is primarily used in the United States.

Example: We don’t get together as much as we used to, but whenever I hang out with my buddies from college it’s still like old times.

Where does buddy come from?

Buddy first entered widespread use around the 1800s. Its origin is uncertain, but it may derive from the word brother, which was once one of its meanings. It is thought that it may have come from the way that a small child might pronounce (or mispronounce) brother (much like how young children sometimes say sissy instead of sister). Other theories include that it is based on the British term butty, which also means “friend or workmate.”

A buddy is most often a friend, as in I’d like you to meet my buddy Greg or My buddies and I are going to the moves—do you want to come? It’s also a term of address (Thanks, buddy!) or endearment, such as from a parent to a child. In these examples, it’s most often applied to men and boys (perhaps influenced by its possible origin in brother), but this is not always the case.

Buddy is sometimes paired with another word to specify what kind of activity two people do together, as in hiking buddy or bowling buddy. This usually implies that this is the primary or only situation in which the two friends hang out. (Of course, it’s very possible for your bowling buddies to become your best buddies.)

A buddy can also be a work companion or someone who you’re paired with, such as for a school project or in the context of the buddy system, which is the pairing of people together for safety. Relatedly, buddy is sometimes used as a verb in the phrase buddy up, often meaning “to pair up.” And to buddy up to someone is to become more friendly with them.

When used as a term of address, buddy doesn’t always refer to a pal. It’s sometimes used to address a stranger in a condescending way, as in Watch where you’re going, buddy!

Buddy is sometimes used in a more specific way to refer to a person who helps a coworker who has returned to the workplace with a disability, or someone who supports and helps to care for a person with AIDS.

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What are some other forms of buddy?

  • buddies (plural)
  • bud (shortened form)

What are some synonyms for buddy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with buddy

What are some words that often get used in discussing buddy?

How is buddy used in real life?

Buddy can be used in many ways, but most of them refer to a friend, companion, or partner.



Try using buddy!

Which of the following words is the closest synonym for buddy?

A. coworker
B. acquaintance
C. pal
D. associate

How to use buddy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for buddy

/ (ˈbʌdɪ) /

noun plural -dies
mainly US and Canadian an informal word for friend Also called (as a term of address): bud
a volunteer who visits and gives help and support to a person suffering from AIDS
a volunteer who gives help and support to a person who has become disabled but is returning to work
verb -dying or -died
(intr) to act as a buddy to a person suffering from AIDS

Word Origin for buddy

C19: probably a baby-talk variant (US) of brother
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