Any localised meaning of the word "pal"?

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solipsist2
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Sun May 31, 2020 3:55 pm Post

I'd appreciate a little help from friends here.

I'm from the UK in this incarnation and have a question to others from around this world as to the meaning of the word "pal".
For me it means buddy, mate, good friend,

What I'd like to check is if it has any negative connotations around the world.

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Daniela Wolfe
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Sun May 31, 2020 5:42 pm Post

Here in the Western United states it just means friend or buddy. It's not super common. Most folks would say they were spending time with their friends over 'pals', but you'll hear it on occasion. It can be used ironically, but it would generally be accompanied with a more aggressive, confrontational tone and phrasing. Like in almost any situation context is key.

For instance, if you heard someone say, "You think you can get away that, pal? You don't know who you're messing with." You can safely assume they're not particularly happy with you.
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Marc64
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Sun May 31, 2020 5:47 pm Post

Daniela Wolfe wrote:Here in the Western United states it just means friend or buddy. It's not super common. Most folks would say they were spending time with their friends over 'pals', but you'll hear it on occasion. It can be used ironically, but it would generally be accompanied with a more aggressive, confrontational tone and phrasing. Like in almost any situation context is key.

For instance, if you heard someone say, "You think you can get away that, pal? You don't know who you're messing with." You can safely assume they're not particularly happy with you.


Yeah, that's pretty much the same as in the UK
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Jaysen
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Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:07 am Post

There is also the "cynical use" in the US. Think a gangster talking to the lackey of a competing family....
gangster A talking to to lackey of gangster B wrote:Listen pal.... you tell your boss that if I see you or any of his other deadbeats on my street again... He'll be cashing in that insurance policy for your wife!

It is negative in the sense that it is obviously a threat.
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I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:08 pm Post

A notable use of the word in British history refers to the battalions that were raised during the First World War:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pals_battalion.
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Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:56 pm Post

It's also used to speak to dogs. As in

MICKEY MOUSE [to PLUTO]: Who's your pal?! Who's your pal?!
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solipsist2
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Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:58 am Post

Thanks, guys. I think like many words it depends on the context and the period in which it is used. I think it was probably it more common usage early to mid-20th Century. I get the gangster connection and in this particular instance I wanted it to run as a language point through a group of close knit characters so, at the risk of confirmation bias, I will go with it as a suitable choice.

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solipsist2
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Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:24 pm Post

mbbntu wrote:A notable use of the word in British history refers to the battalions that were raised during the First World War:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pals_battalion.


Well, I never knew that! That's an interesting article on Wikipedia. Interesting to see the Pal's Regiments were instigated by Lord Derby. I grew up in Liverpool very close to Lord Derby's estate and grounds and know the world was still in use in the 60s and 70s as a street slang.

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AussieDoc
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Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:38 pm Post

Here in The Land Down Under® it would be taken as a somewhat sarcastic comment similar to "Listen, pal, I don't care what you think."

We don't tend to use 'pal' very often.
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