More “mates” in the New York Times

From in a review in today’s paper about a sitcom called “Men at Work”:

“The show give us four work mates … who are inexplicably kept on the payroll by a magazine called Full Steam even though they rarely seem to do any work.”



12 thoughts on “More “mates” in the New York Times

  1. Must tell you that Black & Decker produced a workshop appliance called Workmate for at least fifteen years, probably many more. The Workmate is a cross between a workbench, a clamp with large jaws, and a sawhorse. Indispensible for the handyperson.

    1. Yes, Steve, thank you. We (in U.S.) also have the expressions “soulmate,” “classmate,” and “first mate.” However, we have not traditionally used “mate” as a synonym for “friend,” the way it’s done in the U.K.

    2. I guess the above refers to friends who are also colleagues, hence 2 separate words, “work mates” rather than “workmates” in the sense of just colleagues.

      1. It’s hard for me to tell if that’s the case or if it’s just an unusual (mis)spelling of a term more generally seen as one word.

  2. At least it didn’t call them “work colleagues”, a usage that sets my teeth on edge each time I hear it.

  3. I was going to say pretty much what Julia said. I’m familiar with it as “workmates”. I don’t think I’ve seen work mates in general N.Amer. usage before.

  4. What about the word “apartmentmate”? I heard this on Law & Order, and it’s the first time I’ve ever heard that word. I think it’s an attempt to Americanise “flatmate”. What do you think?

    1. I think you’re right, as well as reaction against vagueness and unsatisfactoriness of the standard term, “roommate.” “Housemate” has been around a pretty long time.

      1. Is “flat” ever used in America (meaning apartment)? Is it generally understood but not used, or would most Americans not know the English meaning? It’s a bit like lift vs. elevator – except I’m pretty sure everyone knows what a lift is. You do tend to see lift in American media occasionally, such as “Freight Transport Lift” in Metroid: Other M. The other thing is the number of syllables – for some reason, Americans seem to prefer to use more syllables. As my dad’s said a couple of times, “Why use one syllable when four will do?”

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