Main definitions of mate in English

: mate1mate2

mate1

noun

  • 1Each of a pair of birds or other animals.

    ‘a male bird sings to court a mate’
    • ‘Andean condor Homer and his mate Marge are love birds again - after vets gave him a blunter beak to save her from the sharp side of his temper.’
    • ‘The birds attract mates by the color intensity of their feathers - a signal of their desirability.’
    • ‘To examine this question, we looked at the age of the mates of birds that did not emigrate.’
    • ‘Whenever possible, we selected birds whose mates were present at the nest to ensure that chicks were not left alone.’
    • ‘At this stage males still accept additional mates and are actively courting.’
    • ‘Even animals have their mates, although some just procreate and leave.’
    • ‘When an incubating bird is relieved by its returning mate, it leaves the nest immediately and flies away from the island.’
    • ‘A randy tortoise is on the run after scaling a two-foot wall in search of a new partner after his mate of 38 years died.’
    • ‘The male partner will provision his mate with food but does not go into the maternity den.’
    • ‘This animal, which has lived without a mate for her entire life at the zoo, will always be remembered as one who never fell ill and as one who never threw a tantrum.’
    • ‘Many are still waiting, but some morning soon they too will wake to the lilt of a backyard bird pleading for a mate.’
    • ‘The bird lives there for free along with his mates and fledglings.’
    • ‘He then told them that he would take all steps necessary so that the zoo gets new species of animals and mates for those animals that are single now.’
    • ‘Her mate appeared to counter-sing in response to the song of the female.’
    • ‘Both admitted intentionally killing a wild bird, injuring its mate and having a loaded air rifle without lawful authority.’
    • ‘It traps pheromones to alert potential mates of sexual receptivity.’
    • ‘In medieval times, there was a romantic belief that birds chose their mate in February.’
    • ‘This was the time when the birds were believed to choose their mate for the spring.’
    • ‘The bird and its mate had built the nest in the bottom of the box and laid five tiny eggs.’
    • ‘Birds sing to establish territories and to attract mates.’
    1. 1.1informal A person's husband, wife, or other sexual partner.
      • ‘It is always terrifying to give birth; how much more so without one's mate there to share the moment?’
      • ‘How did your potential mate treat his/her last girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife?’
      • ‘So, I asked my daughter, do the teachers talk of love - for mate and child - in terms of respect?’
      • ‘Focus on muscle control as you stare into your mate's eyes and mirror his moves.’
      • ‘I mean, that's terrible to lose a life partner and a mate at any age, but certainly at a young age like that.’
      • ‘Her devoted mate of five decades was an insurance agent.’
      • ‘You are a passionate, compassionate, sexual lover, requiring the same qualities from your mate.’
      • ‘Her devoted mate of six decades is a retired production supervisor.’
      • ‘From this perspective, the problem of your missus or your mate takes on added significance.’
      • ‘She said if we treated our husbands / mates like we treated our pet dogs, our marriages would be happier.’
      • ‘Paired with a loving mate, this sign makes a loyal and ever-interesting lover.’
      • ‘Image is everything in Hollywood, and one's mate is among one's most important accessories.’
      • ‘Girls should have the confidence to play hard to get, to wait until they find a mate who matches their demands rather than giving in so easily.’
      partner, husband, wife, spouse, lover, live-in lover, amour, significant other, inamorato, inamorata, companion, helpmate, helpmeet, consort
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2informal One of a matched pair.
      ‘a sock without its mate’
      • ‘Have you ever wondered as to the whereabouts of the mate to those odd socks you find in the dryer or your sock drawer?’
      match, fellow, twin, companion, pair, one of a pair, other half, equivalent, counterpart
      View synonyms
  • 2[in combination] A fellow member or joint occupant of a specified thing.

    ‘his tablemates’
    partner, husband, wife, spouse, lover, live-in lover, amour, significant other, inamorato, inamorata, companion, helpmate, helpmeet, consort
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1British informal Used as a friendly form of address between men or boys.
      ‘“See you then, mate.”’
      • ‘Not on your bloody life, mate, we know what's in it.’
      • ‘Better get that down you then, mate, keep the cold at bay.’
      • ‘‘These days it's sibling revelry, mate,’ Tim jokes in his soft New Zealand accent.’
      • ‘I just had the perfect run, mate, it was like I was in the zone, you know, it was just all happening for me, and I just got the best run through.’
      • ‘Go on the cabbage soup diet, mate, it worked for me.’
      • ‘This one's for you, mate, and I promise never to call your wheels a ‘second division footballer's car’ again.’
      • ‘None of that euphemistic glowing or perspiring here, mate.’
      • ‘It may be just a smear to you, mate, but it's life and death to some poor wretch.’
      • ‘He wound down his window, leant over, and said, ‘What direction you headed in, mate?’’
      • ‘You will need to watch the thing more than once, mate.’
      • ‘‘You shouldn't leave your door open, mate,’ he said as he realised I was right behind him.’
      • ‘That trademark murmur of his implies ‘I've seen it all before, mate, and I tell it like is.’’
      • ‘You reach your own conclusions, mate, I don't have to spell it out.’
      • ‘The defendant then shouted at the injured driver, ‘There's no damage, mate, you're alright’.’
      • ‘And if I have mistranslated, remember that it's all from my memory, mate.’
      • ‘You want a slap in the face, mate?’
      • ‘I'm really sorry about this, mate, but it's for your own good, honest.’
      • ‘Bear in mind that you can buy without a guilty conscience - it's for charity, mate!’
      • ‘Well maybe you should mediate because I wouldn't want to be left alone in a room with her, mate.’
      • ‘And if you think you can shoot off emails like that without getting an enraged response, you'd better think again, mate.’
      man, my friend
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2British informal A friend or companion.
      ‘I was with a mate’
      ‘my best mate, Steve’
      • ‘I do really really love going out, particularly with a mate or crowd of mates…’
      • ‘We were pals, chums, mates and the bosomiest of bosom buddies.’
      • ‘He has few mates, preferring the company of his current partner, two children from different couplings, a hound and local goats.’
      • ‘The fire glows, venison stew simmers, the hunter and his mates drink beer and yarn on into a New Zealand night.’
      • ‘More and more anglers are either going solo, or going in partnership with a mate or several mates and buying their own boat.’
      • ‘His mates woke him with seconds to spare, and he dressed somewhat hurriedly.’
      • ‘The subdued lighting and stylish interior are perfect for a pre-club swally with mates or an intimate quaff with your latest flame.’
      • ‘He prepared for the head shave by growing his hair for three months - and putting up with teasing from his mates at school.’
      • ‘Firemen came in looking for images of their mates who had gone into the blazing buildings.’
      • ‘It's all about meeting up with old mates, making new friends and being part of a massive crowd with one thing in common.’
      • ‘So at the bus stop outside work at 3.30 pm, I ran into an old mate from school.’
      • ‘He didn't tell his mates at school about all his medical problems and he didn't mention that against all the odds, he was a sporting champion.’
      • ‘A couple of years ago, I had a bunch of my mates and their respective partners back at my place after we'd all been out at some do or other.’
      • ‘It's shaping up to be a great party, all of us together at the barbeque, mates, mates of mates and partners of mates.’
      • ‘I am now retired, time-rich and have a wealth of good friends and drinking mates.’
      • ‘A mate of mine from school is throwing a flat-warming party, which a number of people from school are going to be at.’
      • ‘I feel like a dunce in this company, until I get talking to some of my mates in the group who share a lot of my frustrations and aspirations, and are a holy if unruly group.’
      • ‘Anyway, my doctor friend and his golfing mates are welcome to have a cutting.’
      • ‘I'm also still in touch with a couple of mates from school.’
      • ‘On the way back we bought fresh mangoes and dragon fruit from a road side stall and my mates made friends with the owner and got double portions.’
      friend, companion, boon companion, comrade, intimate, familiar, confidant, alter ego, second self
      View synonyms
  • 3An assistant or deputy, in particular.

    • ‘He joined the navy, became surgeon's mate, and sailed in 1741 for the West Indies on an expedition against the Spaniards.’
    • ‘He was one of the men that had worked as cook's mate on Dolphin.’
    • ‘She was married to a chief machinist's mate in the Navy during WWI.’
    • ‘The group leader and mate swam through the shallows and reached the divers.’
    • ‘Sailors who are electrician's mates build their resumes based on the requirement.’
    • ‘Take for instance, the boatswain's mate who needs to put that new coat of paint on the bulkhead.’
    • ‘He's a boatswain's mate by trade but said life on this small deck beats the duties of bigger vessels.’
    • ‘In 1795, Flinders sailed to the young settlement of Port Jackson as master's mate in the Reliance.’
    1. 3.1 An assistant to a skilled worker.
      ‘a plumber's mate’
      • ‘She's now an aviation electrician's mate and soon will start in the shop for electricians.’
      • ‘We had no lifting training and were not provided with driver's mates to assist with the lifting involved.’
      assistant, helper, apprentice, subordinate
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2 A deck officer on a merchant ship subordinate to the master.
      See also first mate
      • ‘The ship's mates would be here at any minute, and I would lose my charter to Antwerp if I was caught.’
      • ‘Several of the crewmen had heard word of their new expedition, and could not help but to share it with their fellow mates.’
      • ‘This was only to be expected, and it was the mate and second mates' jobs to motivate them with threats and promises.’
      • ‘The same applied to the sailing master, his mate, and the carpenter when they also arrived.’
      • ‘When a sailor ‘belonged’ to a ship his main loyalty was to his ship and his mates.’
      • ‘Therefore the defendant's fault was not a cause of the collision which occurred while the mate was in charge of the ship.’
      • ‘It seems likely that there was a minimum crew comprising master, mate, boatswain, at least two seamen and possibly one apprentice.’
      • ‘Johnny tried, failed, and eventually gave up on getting the captain and mate to reach peace.’
      • ‘Some say they are old mates or boatswains watching to see that your job is done in a proper ship-shape way.’
      • ‘Perhaps the captain and his mate would like to make me an offer?’
      • ‘Two are professionally qualified skippers and mates; the others are volunteer crew.’
      • ‘To make matters worse, he put the tanker on autopilot and he left the helm in the hands of a fatigued third mate.’

verb

  • 1[no object] (of animals or birds) come together for breeding; copulate.

    ‘successful males may mate with many females’
    • ‘Many animals and birds mate for life and this seems to work quite well for them.’
    • ‘How do foxes manage to mate with so many animals from other social groups?’
    • ‘The big test will come next spring when it is hoped that the birds will mate.’
    • ‘Once a bull mates with a cow, he will look for greener pastures elsewhere and will not mate with the ‘old cow’ again.’
    • ‘Music was pumping through the stereo system - some latest hip-hop thing that sounded like two cats mating on a tin roof.’
    • ‘It was the hope of the zoo that the gorilla would mate with the female to help further the species.’
    • ‘Also it has been found that if a farmed fish mates with a wild fish the genetics of their spawn is modified.’
    • ‘She just stood there, staring off at some birds mating in a tree.’
    • ‘White tigers are rare because they only occur when two tigers mate and both carry the gene for white coloring.’
    • ‘Members of the same species can mate and breed to produce fertile offspring.’
    • ‘Albatross are faithful birds and only mate once a year with one regular partner.’
    • ‘Queenless colonies generally rear male and female sexuals which typically mate in the nest.’
    • ‘For simplicity, we assume that each individual only mates with one partner.’
    • ‘Crouching, with wings outstretched, the huge birds mate, then fly away together to a nearby glade.’
    • ‘The pandas only have one mating season per year, and the San Diego pair did not mate.’
    • ‘In late winter they migrate to selected shallow bays, forming congregations to pair and eventually mate.’
    • ‘Researchers have found that the female monkeys and rats mate with multiple males to purposely confuse paternity.’
    • ‘Two of the captive birds successfully mated and produced the first captive-bred condor chick the following year.’
    • ‘In the fall, adults gather in the colonies to form pair bonds and mate.’
    • ‘Two other fly species mated and formed a hybrid, a combined form that cannot mate with its fellow hybrids.’
    copulation, copulating, coupling, sexual intercourse, intercourse, sex, procreation
    pairing, breeding, union
    coitus, coition
    breed, couple
    sexually active, breeding
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Bring (animals or birds) together for breeding.
      • ‘In a follow-up study, the researchers mated unexposed rats with offspring of treated moms.’
      • ‘He succeeded in mating a cow with the menagerie's bison, but the ensuing pregnancy came to a disastrous end.’
      • ‘Animals mated this Autumn should be 100% sound.’
      • ‘Owners pay about £60,000 a time to mate their mares with him.’
      • ‘In the second part of the study, we mated females to males of differing eye span and examined the effects on fecundity and fertility.’
      • ‘To examine sperm transport in the female reproductive tract, males were mated with superovulated females.’
      • ‘The mice were mated systematically to generate the different allelic combinations.’
      • ‘Flies were mated for 4 days and eggs laid within the following 5 days were counted.’
      • ‘After selection the chosen males and females were mated at random within line.’
      • ‘Sex ratio of their progeny was not considered in sire selection, and the bulls were not mated to the same group of cows in consecutive years.’
      • ‘Depending upon the year, 15-40% of males are socially mated with more than one female within a given breeding season.’
      • ‘After irradiation each male was individually mated with two non-exposed females over a period of 3-4 days and then removed.’
      • ‘Then the scientists mated mice deficient in the GIP receptor with mice that lack leptin, a hormone that signals satiety.’
      • ‘So clean animals are separated from unclean animals, and it is forbidden to sow two kinds of seed in one field, to wear clothes of two kinds of fabric, or to mate two kinds of animals.’
      • ‘Treated mice were mated with untreated female T-stock mice.’
      • ‘Following exposure, exposed and control females were mated with intact males.’
      • ‘As well, there is a reluctance on the part of farmers to mate any bulls for fear they will lose their strength and condition.’
      • ‘Breeders in England and the United States have been successfully mating the rare species.’
      • ‘After this, each female was mated individually with two males from the stem population and kept with them for 3 days.’
      • ‘At different intervals, rabbits were mated with males of proven fertility.’
      couple, pair, join, bring together
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Join in marriage or sexual partnership.
      ‘people tend to mate with others in their own social class’
  • 2[with object] Connect or be connected mechanically.

    ‘a four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed gearbox’
    • ‘And the transmission is mated to a powertrain that wallows in a vast reservoir of torque.’
    • ‘A stiff nylon outsole is mated to a mesh and leather upper.’
    • ‘The fastest engine in the range, the latter diesel plant is now mated to a 6-speed gearbox.’
    • ‘The two most powerful engines are mated to a six-speed gearbox.’
    • ‘While being basically hand-built, they were done on an assembly line, with the mechanicals being mated to the body shell around half way down the line.’
    • ‘The front end is contained within a tapered bushing that mates with a corresponding taper in the slide.’
    • ‘The hydraulic drive (using a standard travel motor and brake from the excavator) is mated to a planetary gearbox.’
    • ‘Backplanes permit drives to be snapped in and mated to a connector blindly.’
    • ‘These are mated to 6 speed manual transmissions or 5 speed auto.’
    • ‘One of the issues is to make sure that the right bodies are mated to the correct chassis.’
    • ‘The V6 is mated to a new five-speed transmission.’
    • ‘The reborn engine is then mated to a close ratio six-speed manual transmission and the new powertrain is reunited with the body.’
    • ‘On the test car, the engine was mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.’
    • ‘The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transaxle - gradually emerging as the new industry standard for luxury cars.’
    • ‘The fuselage has been removed from the assembly jig and mated to the wing.’
    • ‘It is a 16 valve, four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo charged engine mated to a six-speed gear box.’
    • ‘The two power sources are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that is claimed to have the efficiencies of a manual.’
    • ‘The engine is mated to a tricky gearbox which gives you the option of being fully automatic, or a clutchless sequential manual.’
    • ‘The 26-inch, fluted barrel is mated to an action made without magazine cutout for maximum stiffness and accuracy.’
    • ‘The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox while the rack and pinion steering features variable power assistance.’

Phrases

  • mates' rates

    • informal Discounted prices or preferential terms offered to friends by the seller of a product or service.

      ‘Rick arranged for the repair to be done at mates' rates’
      • ‘I have to make a website for a friend (mates' rates unfortunately - free).’
      • ‘If Chelle had been a physio like she wanted to when she was a teenager, I could be getting mates' rates.’
      • ‘Paul is offering him some gash about his friend being a printer and giving mates' rates.’
      • ‘However by this time I had the trike finished and with the help of friends and the good old Australian 'mates' rates' it had cost me next to nothing in monetary terms, which pleased Lora to no end.’
      • ‘I bought it off a friend at mate's rates.’
      • ‘Joe, tell him George sent you and you'll easily get mates' rates.’
      • ‘It provided billions in aid, free military hardware, latest intelligence support and some of the best mates' rates in international politics.’
      • ‘No transparency, no accountability, mates' rates - let's take our money and run.’
      • ‘If you're in that area, and want your carpets cleaned, give them a call and say Paddy said to give you a mates' rates price.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Middle Low German māt(e) comrade of West Germanic origin; related to meat (the underlying notion being that of eating together).

Pronunciation

mate

/māt/

Main definitions of mate in English

: mate1mate2

mate2

verb & noun

Chess
  • short for checkmate
    • ‘For example, the chapter on endgame technique focuses on mating with bishop and knight and the rook and pawn versus rook endgame.’
    • ‘This book starts with mates in one and, around page one million, moves on to mate in twos.’
    • ‘Can you find the mate in two for White in today's diagram?’
    • ‘He wasn't paying attention since he saw that a forced mate resulted from the line he actually played.’
    • ‘He carelessly walked into a mate in five, which he thought was simply drawing.’

Origin

Middle English: the noun from Anglo-Norman French mat (from the phrase eschec mat checkmate); the verb from Anglo-Norman French mater to checkmate.

Pronunciation

mate

/māt/

Main definitions of mate in English

: mate1mate2

maté

noun

  • 1An infusion of the leaves of a South American shrub, which is high in caffeine and bitter.

    • ‘He might be found lying in bed, drinking a cup of maté with seven sugars and reading a new poem to his friend.’
    • ‘A popular social pastime is the drinking of maté, a tea made from the leaves of a plant related to holly.’
    • ‘Other dried plant substances used to make infused drinks are chicory (dried root), cocoa (dried powdered seeds), guarana (dried powdered seeds, made into smoked cakes), cola ‘nut’ (dried powdered seeds), and maté (dried leaves).’
    • ‘One famous pastime is drinking maté, a Paraguayan tea made from holly leaves.’
    • ‘We drink it through a bombilla, the little metal suckable strainer they also use in Argentina to drink maté, an exuberantly undrinkable local tea brewed from some violent green shrub.’
    1. 1.1 The leaves of the maté shrub.
  • 2The South American shrub of the holly family which produces maté leaves.

    • ‘Drinks made of yerba maté are ubiquitous.’

Origin

Early 18th century: from Spanish mate, from Quechua mati.

Pronunciation

maté

/ˈmäˌtā/