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 responses to “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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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. In Australia they have the concept of “mateship”.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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?”

  6. Pingback: British English “in rude health” | Not One-Off Britishisms

  7. Pingback: “Mate” as Direct Address | Not One-Off Britishisms

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