[ meyt ]
See synonyms for mate on
  1. a partner in marriage; spouse.

  2. one member of a pair of mated animals.

  1. one of a pair: I can't find the mate to this glove.

  2. a counterpart.

  3. an associate; fellow worker; comrade; partner (often used in combination): classmate; roommate.

  4. friend; buddy; pal (often used as an informal term of address): Let me give you a hand with that, mate.

  5. Nautical.

    • any of a number of officers of varying degrees of rank subordinate to the master of a merchant ship.

    • an assistant to a warrant officer or other functionary on a ship.

  6. an aide or helper, as to an artisan; factotum.

  7. a gear, rack, or worm engaging with another gear or worm.

  8. Archaic. an equal in reputation; peer; match.

verb (used with object),mat·ed, mat·ing.
  1. to join as a mate or as mates.

  2. to bring (animals) together for breeding purposes.

  1. to match or marry.

  2. to join, fit, or associate suitably: to mate thought with daring action.

  3. to connect or link: a telephone system mated to a computerized information service.

  4. to treat as comparable.

verb (used without object),mat·ed, mat·ing.
  1. to associate as a mate or as mates.

  2. (of animals) to copulate.

  1. (of animals) to pair for the purpose of breeding.

  2. to marry.

  3. (of a gear, rack, or worm) to engage with another gear or worm; mesh.

  4. Archaic. to consort; keep company.

Origin of mate

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English mate, maite “friend, companion, shipmate, mate (ship's officer), fellow creature,” from Middle Low German mate, gemate “messmate”, replacing Middle English mette, mete “table companion, messmate, partner,” Old English gemetta “messmate, guest”; see origin at meat

Other words from mate

  • mateless, adjective

Other definitions for mate (2 of 4)

[ meyt ]

noun, verb (used with object), interjectionmat·ed, mat·ing,

Origin of mate

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English verb maten, matein, matten “to checkmate, defeat,” from Old French mater, ultimately from Persian; see origin at checkmate

Other definitions for mate (3 of 4)

[ mah-tey, mat-ey ]

  1. a tealike South American beverage made from the dried leaves of an evergreen tree.

  2. a South American tree, Ilex paraguariensis, that is the source of this beverage.

  1. the dried leaves of this tree.

Origin of mate

First recorded in 1710–20; from American Spanish, from Quechua mati, the calabash gourd in which the herb is steeped

Other definitions for Mat.E. (4 of 4)


  1. Materials Engineer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mate in a sentence

  • When he returned to the hotel he kissed his incongruous room-mate with the gentleness of a woman.

  • A ghostly mate would be no very pleasant bridegroom for a young lady.

  • He laughed at her, and told her that he had abandoned the modern method of winning a mate, and gone back to the primitive mode.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Her husband always called her the Bo'sun's mate in Camp, because it was her duty, among others, to pipe all hands to meals.

    Three More John Silence Stories | Algernon Blackwood
  • Once more I began to realize that I was human, and to cast about for the mate that must surely be roaming in search of me.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton

British Dictionary definitions for mate (1 of 3)


/ (meɪt) /

  1. the sexual partner of an animal

  2. a marriage partner

    • informal, mainly British, Australian and NZ a friend, usually of the same sex: often used between males in direct address

    • (in combination) an associate, colleague, fellow sharer, etc: a classmate; a flatmate

  1. one of a pair of matching items

  2. nautical

    • short for first mate

    • any officer below the master on a commercial ship

    • a warrant officer's assistant on a ship

  3. (in some trades) an assistant: a plumber's mate

  4. archaic a suitable associate

  5. mate rates Australian slang the reduced rate charged for work done for a friend

  1. to pair (a male and female animal) or (of animals) to pair for reproduction

  2. to marry or join in marriage

  1. (tr) to join as a pair; match

Origin of mate

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

Derived forms of mate

  • mateless, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for mate (2 of 3)


/ (meɪt) /

noun, verb
  1. chess See checkmate

British Dictionary definitions for maté (3 of 3)



/ (ˈmɑːteɪ, ˈmæteɪ) /

  1. an evergreen tree, Ilex paraguariensis, cultivated in South America for its leaves, which contain caffeine: family Aquifoliaceae

  2. a stimulating milky beverage made from the dried leaves of this tree

Origin of maté

C18: from American Spanish (originally referring to the vessel in which the drink was brewed), from Quechua máti gourd
  • Modern Greek name: Paraguay tea, yerba, yerba maté

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