noun, plural mate·ys. Chiefly British Informal.

comrade; chum; buddy.

Origin of matey

First recorded in 1825–35; mate1 + -y2



adjective Chiefly British Informal.

sociable; friendly: a matey chat.

Origin of matey

First recorded in 1910–15; mate1 + -y1
Related formsmate·y·ness, mat·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for matey

Historical Examples of matey

  • "Well, come along, matey," said the younger of the two to his companion.

  • You take a hint, matey, and don't be about Liverpool to-night, or until she's gone.

    The Light of Scarthey

    Egerton Castle

  • Cards bored him to death, but he liked to be matey with the youngsters.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke

  • “My hye, matey, you do seem hungry,” said one of the others.

    Blue Jackets

    George Manville Fenn

  • I said it was the wa— tlat tlat tlat—Oh, I say, matey, I am thirsty.

    Fire Island

    G. Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for matey



British informal


friendly or intimate; on good terms


friend or fellow: usually used in direct address
Derived Formsmateyness or matiness, noun
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 matey

1833, diminutive of mate (n.) in its "male friend" sense + -y (3).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper