Pal, Mate, Friend

Hameed   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 20:22 GMT
I am confused about the usage of these words ( Pal, Mate, and Friend), how do we use each of them, and what is the diffrences between each of them, like formal usage or the type of the friendships?
Jacob   Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 21:45 GMT
To my American ear, "Pal" as a synonym for "friend" sounds out-of-date and I wouldn't use it except humorously. Lots of people do use it, but it's a very casual word. You can use it as a very informal, possibly somewhat rude, form of address ("Hey, pal, watch where you're going!").

"Mate" as a synonym for "friend" sounds British, or Australian, and I wouldn't use it at all -- to my ear, "mate" signifies a spouse or someone you have sex with. My friends are just my friends.
Alice   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 05:15 GMT
There's a phrase that says, "A friend is a friend, a pal is a pal, but a buddy is someone you sleep with." Now, this is just a silly little expression, and it doesn't really mean anything as for as linguistics are concerned, but it popped into my head when I saw this thread. Anyway, as to your query, I'd say it's best to stick with "friend", until you know the origin of the person to whom you're speaking, because "pal" can often sound sarcastic, and "mate" can mean lover.
Hameed   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 06:34 GMT
really intersting, so the matter is not just outdated words, or slang language, it means more than this, thanks for these explanations.
Boy   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 10:17 GMT
As my elder brother explains me that friends are not pals or mates. If you have a long lasting friendship with someone, you can mention them only as your friends but like if you meet with someone in a class while attending a course, and you talk to them during that period only, you can refer them as your mates or pals. Like I don't know too much about you Hameed, we have never met before, we have never spent time together for a long time, I can not refer you as my friend. All I can refer to you either mate or pal, just a bit on the friendly terms. All you have to know is the term "friend" has some strong meanings and you can not use it for referring every Tom, Harry and Dick. For that matter, feel free to use these terms, Buddy, Pal and mate.
mjd   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 10:21 GMT
In the U.S. we rarely refer to our friends as our "mates," but they do in England. One does hear "pal," but it pays to be careful when using the term. It can be taken as being sarcastic at times. The most common term is "friend."
Simon   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 11:34 GMT
Yes be careful. The word mate also has a technical meaning in the sense of animals having sex. Similarly, an animal's mate is the other animal it has sex with to make baby animals. It is also a rank/role on a ship. Quite how all this gave us a slang word for friend I dread to think.
hameed   Sunday, February 15, 2004, 14:47 GMT
What about (buddy)? is it not normal to be sued
Steve   Monday, February 16, 2004, 15:23 GMT
Often when I hear the word ''buddy'' used It's usually used as a synonym for partner. It's more often used to mean ''partner'' than it's used to mean ''friend''.