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Mate

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Mate (m amacr.gif t)

Most boring dictionaries would define mate as one of these:

  • 1. One of a matched pair: the mate to this glove.
  • 2. A spouse.
  • 3.

a. Either of a pair of animals or birds that associate in order to propagate.

b. Either of a pair of animals brought together for breeding.

  • 4.

a. A person with whom one is in close association; an associate.

b. Chiefly British. A good friend or companion.

c. A person with whom one shares living quarters. Often used in combination: advertised for a new flatmate.

  • 5. A deck officer on a merchant ship ranking next below the master.
  • 6. A U.S. Navy petty officer who is an assistant to a warrant officer.


However, in the military world, mate has a meaning all its own. A mate is variously someone you just met ('Alright mate, how's it going') or literally 'your best mate' ('M-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t-e! How's it going?)

You may know literally nothing about your 'mates' but all you need to know is that they will stick with you through all manner of hell; will share their last fag with you 3 weeks into an exercise in Otterburn or Salisbury Plain with the promise of 3 weeks to come; and will let you crash on their Mum's floor when you're at a loose end on leave.

The concept of being 'mates' with someone reaches its ultimate expression in bezzering.

Master Mate: Character in cartoon series Captain Pugwash which everyone thought of (with the benefit of 20 years of Stella Wifebeater brain damage) as Master Bates. Led to law suits when several childrens TV books refered to the totally innocent characters on the show as Master Bates, Seaman Staines, and Roger the cabin boy.


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