When two animals, male and female, come together for the purpose of reproduction, they mate. This word can be used as a verb, a noun, and as an adjective.

mating birds

  • These birds mate in the spring. (verb)
  • Spring is the mating season. (adjective)
  • They’re mates. (noun)

The word "mate" can also refer to a person’s spouse.

  • Pamela is a good mate.
  • Jeff tries his best to be a helpful mate.
  • He’s proven over the years to be a good mate.

Sometimes we use "mate" to refer to one thing that matches another in a pair, such as a pair of gloves, a pair of socks, or any two things that go together.

  • Where is the mate for this black sock?
  • This glove is missing its mate.
  • It’s been a real struggle to get these two parts of the company to mate. There are too many personality conflicts.

In England and Australia, the word "mate" is popular when addressing a friend or when trying to appear friendly. In the United States, words such as "dude," "buddy," and "bro" are used instead of "mate."

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February 28, 2014