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I heard Leonardo Dicaprio saying about Kate Winslet, "She's my homie.". I wonder what homie actually means. I looked up the online dictionaries and discovered that it's a North American slang for a friend or acquaintance from one's neighbourhood or hometown. Has it got a different parallel meaning that might mean 'special'. I also wonder if the word has a different usage too other than being a slang.

  • It may have something to do with the fact that they starred in a film (Titanic) that brought them both world-wide fame. In the movie world, that's more or less "home town". – Mick Nov 12 '16 at 17:39
  • In context, Leonardo Dicaprio simply means he counts Kate Winslet among his BFF (Best Friends Forever, bosom buddies. It's a trivial metaphoric extension from the somewhat more literal original meaning homie = someone I grew up with in my home neighbourhood, and therefore identify with and endorse. I think it's General Reference that such usages abound in English (and probably every language). – FumbleFingers Nov 12 '16 at 18:24
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Not too many years ago I would have advised you against using the term "homie", as it is connected to the vernacular of a particular ethnic group, and you wouldn't want to sound like you were mocking them by using it incorrectly. Nowadays the word is much more common, so, given that Dicaprio can use it without causing offense, you might sound out-of-touch, but not actually offend anyone.

Hopefully. It can still be used in a racist manner, so you should still use good judgement.

The etymology of "homie" is unclear, but since it's most commonly associated with Latino slang I always assumed that it derived from the Spanish hombre, which means "man" but is used to refer to any male who you are close to or at least friendly with. Wikipedia gives other possible explanations.

The meaning is similar to saying someone is a "buddy", but the actual nature of the relationship can vary from person to person. Dicaprio doesn't literally mean that Winslet is from his home town (he is from California and she is from England) so his meaning is clearly that she is a "close friend". Meanwhile, someone else might use "homie" to mean "someone I would trust with my life".

Meanwhile, someone else might use "homie" in a scornful way, to indicate animosity. You will just have to judge from context.

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