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The definition of first mate is the person on a boat that is second in charge after the captain.
An example of first mate is the person who gives orders while the captain is busy.
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
a merchant ship's officer next in rank below the captain
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
An officer on a merchant ship ranking immediately below the captain.