[mah-tey, mat-ey, mah-tey]


a tealike South American beverage made from the dried leaves of an evergreen tree.
a South American tree, Ilex paraguariensis, that is the source of this beverage.
the dried leaves of this tree.

Nearby words

  1. matzo ball,
  2. matzo brei,
  3. matzo meal,
  4. matzoh,
  5. matzoon,
  6. matériel,
  7. mau mau,
  8. mau-mau,
  9. maubeuge,
  10. mauby

Also mate.

Origin of maté

1710–20; < American Spanish mate, orig. the vessel in which the herb is steeped < Quechua mati Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for maté




an evergreen tree, Ilex paraguariensis, cultivated in South America for its leaves, which contain caffeine: family Aquifoliaceae
a stimulating milky beverage made from the dried leaves of this tree
Modern Greek name: Paraguay tea, yerba, yerba maté

Word Origin for maté

C18: from American Spanish (originally referring to the vessel in which the drink was brewed), from Quechua máti gourd




the sexual partner of an animal
a marriage partner
  1. informal, mainly British, Australian and NZa friend, usually of the same sex: often used between males in direct address
  2. (in combination)an associate, colleague, fellow sharer, etca classmate; a flatmate
one of a pair of matching items
  1. short for first mate
  2. any officer below the master on a commercial ship
  3. a warrant officer's assistant on a ship
(in some trades) an assistanta plumber's mate
archaic a suitable associate
mate rates Australian slang the reduced rate charged for work done for a friend


to pair (a male and female animal) or (of animals) to pair for reproduction
to marry or join in marriage
(tr) to join as a pair; match
Derived Formsmateless, adjective

Word Origin for mate

C14: from Middle Low German; related to Old English gemetta table-guest, from mete meat



noun, verb

chess See checkmate
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

Word Origin and History for maté
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for maté




A spouse.
Either of a pair of animals or birds that associate in order to propagate.
Either of a pair of animals brought together for breeding.


To become joined in marriage.
To be paired for reproducing; breed.
To copulate.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.