Using the word MATE: British and Australian English

Diversify your vocabulary and connect to people more with the word MATE!

The word “mate” is very common in Australian and British English and can help you sound a lot more natural when speaking Englsih in these places. Although it’s not used in American English, it is understood by English speakers all over the world.


G’day RealLifers, and welcome to another 1 minute episode of RealLife TV. Today, I’m going to teach you all about the word mate.

The word “mate” is not commonly used in American English. You’re going to hear this word used mainly in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, these kinds of, these kinds of countries. And the word mate literally just means frieth_gday_mate_lgend. So, this would be similar to, in American English, when they call everyone “man,” I’m never going to say “man.”

But, uh, the word mate is really cool because it really helps you to connect to people the first time you meet them. So, when you go to these places, feel free to use the word mate. I don’t know, if you go to the checkout, you might go through and be like “Hey mate, how are you going?” or, if you go buy a cup of coffee, “Hey mate, one coffee please.”

So, this is a great word to add to your vocabulary, maybe to diversify it a little bit, and it’s also a great way to connect to people, even if you don’t know them.

So, to all of my mates out there, feel free to add this word to your vocabulary and use it as much as you can.

So, thanks a lot for watching this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RealLife TV on YouTube.

See you, mates, have a nice day!

  • Conor Chawke says:

    Not used in Irish English either, you'd be laughed at for saying it

    • Mate says:

      Ya mate

    • kirk says:

      Dont talk shit Connor, its not as common in Ireland but you wont be laughed at

    • Papas bag says:

      Irish travellers ( romany) say mate all the time ….

  • Michelle says:

    “Mate” is much more endearing then “buddy” or all the other sayings we have here in North America.
    But…if you’re NOT a Brit or Australian, please stop using the word “cheers” when entering or exiting somewhere, or as a replacment for “thank you”

  • Shawnia Daniell says:

    Thanks, man!

  • ian says:

    Definatly also an NZ word. Also SA I believe by the amount that use it in NZ..
    Originally a British word.

  • Joyce says:

    No “mate” is not commonly used in the U.S. to greet someone, especially a stranger. It can be over looked maybe some times, but it’s not always comfortable nor appropiate for some people to be called “mate” in U.S. by a stranger especially. Mate used there is different.
    Maybe a lover or you may say, my soul mate meaning lover or spouse.
    If you hang out with a buddy (friend) and do things with them such as, party or shopping or just whatever, you may refer informally to that person as, “my running mate”. However, it’s almost jokingly. Someone you played with as a child, ” meet my childhood playmate”. Or say to a child, “your playmate is here”.
    Or watching doves or any bird you may refer to the male or female’s oposite sex partner as it’s “mate”. Such as: You see a beautiful bird (usually male displayed) then you see the female, it’s common to say: “There is it’s mate”. That holds true with any animals you may be refering to as a couple that one would expect to breed or make family with.
    Seriously, the word “mate”
    is used more intimately in the U.S. and no way near the same as other English speakers use the word around the world.

    • Justin says:

      Wow thanks for the lesson Joyce!

    • John says:

      It’s still the case that the word ‘mate’ isn’t always received kindly in the UK. It’s more popular with younger people. Middle aged and older people may respond with “I’m not your mate!”.

      • Graeme says:

        As a middle aged English man I can confirm that Matt is perfectly fine to use

  • Lance says:

    Mate is used in American (U.S. and Canadian) English, but it is not used as slang for friend. It is used for the original meaning of sexual union, as in “Swans mate for life.” Many Britishisms are creeping into American English recently, such as “as well”, often thrown into the mix when “also” is already there. Folks just want to use the latest buzzwords, even if it is redundant – By the way, in American English redundant does not mean “laid off a job as an excessive worker”, but duplication, such as “She was slim and thin.” Hint: In America, never ask someone in your classroom if you can use their rubber.

  • Michael says:

    “Man” isn’t an exact replacement for “mate.” An American could say “Thanks, man” to a best friend, but also could say “Screw you, man” to a total stranger. I think “brother” or “bro” comes closer to “mate” in America.

    • kirk says:

      yeah but in English we also say ¨fuck off mate!¨

      • Selah says:

        When I hear mate I think of pirates, not friends, though I have heard the term many times in a friendly way.

  • sophie says:

    i love your post and it is very useful in understanding the word mate.thank you

  • Milind says:

    Information is Great..thank you. Feedback:English is spelt incorrectly

  • Milind says:

    The word “mate” is very common in Australian and British English and can help you sound a lot more natural when speaking Englsih in these places.
    Spelt incorrectly as Englsih

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Milind 🙂