When calling someone “buddy,” you might have only come across it between men. It seems traditional for men to refer to each other as “buddy,” but there is nothing wrong with calling a woman “buddy” either. Still, this article will look at some good synonyms.
Which Words Are Female Synonyms For “Buddy”?
There are plenty of options out there. Since “buddy” isn’t strictly for men, we can use any synonyms that are also gender-neutral. These are the best ones we can think of:
The preferred version is “friend” because it’s one of the most commonly used to refer to other people. However, all of the above synonyms are great to use to replace “buddy.” There are no English rules that tell us whether we can or cannot address women in the above ways.
Let’s start with the preferred option. “Friend” is the most generic term on this list, so it makes for the best choice among the rest.
A friend is someone who you value in life. We can refer to someone as a “friend” whenever we want to show that they’re important to us in some way. It also works well as a greeting, which is often overlooked by some people. Informally, it makes for a great term.
The definition of “friend,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who you know well and who you like a lot, but who is usually not a member of your family.”
We might see “friend” appear as follows:
- Hey, friend! How are you doing today?
- Don’t worry, friend. I’m more than happy to help contribute to this.
- Say no more, friend. I’m your guy if you need any more help.
Next, we’ll look at “pal,” which works in a very similar way to “friend.” It’s potentially a little more popular because it’s much less generic, which helps us to show that we care more about the people we speak to.
A pal is also a friend. We use it to show that we are close to someone. Simply adding the word “pal” to the end of a greeting, message, or parting word is enough to warm someone else’s heart and let them know that we care about them in some manner.
The definition of “pal,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a friend.”
Here’s how we might choose to use “pal:”
- Hey, pal! You’re looking amazing today, as always.
- What’s up, pal? I haven’t heard from you in so long!
- Yes, pal. I’m always going to be here for you when you need me.
Like “pal,” “mate” is another great way to show that we care a little more than simply saying “friend.” It’s also a remarkably common phrase to hear in Australian English, and they will greet almost everybody with the word regardless of gender.
A mate is a friend we share a lot of things with. We can use “mate” as one of the more common colloquial terms for a friend. It applies to both men and women, which is why it works so well in many cases when we simply want to show that we care about somebody.
The definition of “mate,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a friend.”
Here is how “mate” works:
- Good day, mate! I love what you’ve done with your hair.
- You’re dressed to the nines today, mate.
- Hello, mate! How are you doing?
We can use “man” to a similar degree as “mate.” It works well to show that we care about someone, and it would help for you to see it in action before using it yourself.
Technically, a “man” only refers to another “man.” However, words like “man” have taken on a more gender-neutral meaning informally in recent times, and we can say things like “hey, man” even when talking to a girl. It’s not common, but it’s still correct.
The definition of “man,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “used when talking to someone.”
And we could use “man” for a woman as follows:
- Hey, man. I hope I’m not overstepping my mark, but you look fabulous.
- No, man! Don’t say something like that to me again.
- Okay, man. I’ll be there to pick you up at five.
“Man” and “dude” are cut from the same branch. We use them both to refer to people we care deeply about, and they no longer have to refer only to men.
The same recent rules apply to “dude.” While it originated as a male term, we can now call a girl “dude” with no issues. In fact, many English speakers will use “dude” without prejudice, meaning it works for both men and women.
The definition of “dude,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a man.”
“Dude” works well in many cases, as you can see:
- What’s good, dude? I thought I heard you coming in.
- Yeah, dude! I knew you’d want to do this with me if you had the time.
- Hey, dude. I’ve booked those tickets, just like you asked.
It’s time to look a little closer at some of the more gender-specific words. We can start with “sis,” which is rather obviously leaning toward women (you won’t hear many men being called “sis”).
“Sis” is a strictly female-related term. It is an informal shortening of the word “sister.” We use it when we are greeting another girl, and it’s typically a word that’s said by girls in the first place. Still, it belongs on this list as a female replacement for “buddy.”
The definition of “sis,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a sister.”
Here is how “sis” works in most contexts:
- Yeah, sis! You tell those folks who’s boss.
- Absolutely, sis! I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come.
- Sis, you need to understand your worth before you go back out there!
“Girl” is another great way to show that we value someone in some way. It works similarly to “buddy,” which is why we included it in this list. However, just like everything else in the list, it’s strictly for informal situations.
Again, we wouldn’t call a man a “girl,” so this term only works when talking to women. It’s a great way to show that you regard them in a friendly and polite way. You are not simply stating their gender; you are showing that they mean something to you, and you appreciate them.
The definition of “girl,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a female child or young woman.”
Here’s how “girl” works as an informal synonym for “buddy:”
- Oh, girl! I never thought I’d see you laugh again.
- Hey, girl! I can’t believe how happy you’ve looked lately.
- Yes, girl, and I’m happy to help you learn your truth.
A chum is one of the less common words on this list. Still, it means friend and is one of those words that apply to both men and women. We can use it whenever we want to refer to a girl as our “buddy,” which is why it’s included here.
The definition of “chum,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a friend.”
You might see “chum” work as follows:
- Okay, chum. I’m glad we had this little chat.
- See you next week, chum! I’ll miss you!
- Hey, chum. I hope you’ve been good.
Can “Buddy” Be Used For A Girl?
We’ve already explained a lot about how “buddy” and all of the synonyms work. There are no rules that teach us whether we can call a girl “buddy.”
You can call a girl “buddy” the same way you can call a boy one. There are no gender rules associated with the term as it’s a neutral way to say that you value someone’s friendship and consider them to be a friend of yours.
Do not be afraid to use the term “buddy” in informal situations. Whenever talking to friends, “buddy” is a suitable replacement for any generic friendly term.
However, you should still avoid calling a girl “buddy” formally. In fact, we would also encourage you not to use the word “buddy” for men formally either. There is no place for formal writing with “buddy.”
What Does It Mean To Call Someone “Buddy”?
So, what exactly does the word mean? We’ve seen everything else related to it, but we have yet to touch on the exact meaning.
Calling someone “buddy” means you value them as a friend. We can use it when we want to show that we are close to someone, and we want them to feel at ease with us. We don’t have to be the best of friends, but we at least have to know who they are.
You can use “buddy” for good friends and acquaintances alike. All it means is that you value the opinion or input of another person or that you’re happy to greet them in a kind and friendly way.
- Hey, buddy! How are you?
- I hope you’re doing okay, buddy.
- Nonsense, buddy. I’m happy to help.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.