10

Seeking the alternatives to saying about someone that he is almost the same age as I am, I came across the words agemate and batchmate.

In the Russian language, there are several one-word terms to tell about a person born around the year you were born:

ровесник -- approximately of the same age with you;

одногодок -- born in the same year,

погодок -- born a year or so before or after you were born,

одноклассник -- the one who were with you in the same grade at school,

однокашник -- college/university mate who entered the educational institution in the same year you did it (the usual age to begin a higher education being 17-19 years old), and a few more terms.

Could the native English speakers answer me if there are the English words to match their Russian equivalents I tried to define in English?

Also, about the two words I mentioned in the beginning of the post:

Are they really in use?

In your culture, what would be the maximal age difference between the persons to say that they are agemates?

  • classmate (school age) or contemporary? Haven't heard agemate or batchmate (AmE). Google Translate of "ровестник" returns "contemporary", and "одноклассник" returns "classmate". – user3169 Jul 22 '16 at 22:59
  • I didn't spin them out of a thin air. There are links to the both, aren't there? – Lamplighter Jul 22 '16 at 23:01
  • @user3169 Oh, yes! I've used "contemporary" only as an adjective so far, thanks a lot! – Lamplighter Jul 22 '16 at 23:08
  • 2
    The link you have for batchmate clearly marks it as "Indian English"... which would explain why the Americans, at least (including me) have never heard it before. – Catija Jul 22 '16 at 23:19
  • @Catija: Here's another link for batchmate, and here's yet another. I didn't know of Indian English. The links show its British usage, though. – Lamplighter Jul 22 '16 at 23:30
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(AmE) I don't use or hear "agemate" or "batchmate". I might understand what you mean by "agemate", but definitely not "batchmate". Personally, "batchmate" sounds like computer programming jargon.

If it interests you, please consider the following expressions.

  1. We are the same age.

This does not imply that we were born on the same day in the same year. It doesn't even imply we were born in the same month. I think most would agree that it implies that we're are about, at most one year apart. For example, we are both 25 years old.

  1. We are both X years old.

This is pretty clear: we've been alive for (at least) X years. Maybe I am closer to 26, and the other person just turned 25, but we are both 25 years old.

  1. We're about the same age.

This is bit ambiguous, but I think you can certainly use it if two of you are about 2 or 3 years apart in age.

  1. We are X years apart.
  2. We were born X years apart.

4 means that the difference between my age and another person's age is X years. 5 might be used by siblings.

As others have mentioned regarding your other requests, you might consider contemporaries and classmates.

In college and high school, students are often called

  1. Freshman (plural, freshmen; first year student)
    We're freshmen!
  2. Sophomore(s) (second year student)
  3. Junior(s) (third year student)
  4. Senior(s) (fourth year student)

In college, students are also called first/second/third/fourth/etc-year students. Sometimes, the word student(s) is omitted.

  1. We're first-year students!
  2. We're first-years!
4

Are they really in use? No, these are never used in American English, spoken or written. Most people would intuitively understand "agemate," but would find "batchmate" very odd sounding.

"Contemporary" as noun is a good one, but there is no set age range for the term. "Peer" is another potential choice--also with no set age range. Both can be used to describe someone who is actually several years apart from you, depending on the context.

"Classmate" is more commonly used to mean a student who attends the same specific class you do, but can also be used to mean someone who is in the same year of school with you, at the same school.

There is no good direct match for any of the specific terms you mention--Russian seems to have much more precise options here than English. Which is interesting--I don't know why that would be.

11

English lacks such precise terms to describe fellow members of an age group.

Occasionally in journalistic usage, we see the term cogenerational, but that feels contrived to a native speaker, and even worse, it has a previous usage which refers to power production.

I first encountered the word Agemate a few moments ago in your post, and I've been reading and writing English for over 65 years; this may answer your question about use! Batchmate is primarily used in South Asian English, and seems not be in wide use even there. It is all but unknown in NAmE.

Agemate seems to be most widely used in scholarly writing on sociology and psychology [1], in which it is often hyphenated as age-mate. It is encountered only seldom outside of such disciplines. In that usage, it is taken to mean "born within a year of each other."

  • Thank you very much for the answer and for the link to Wiktionary which I hardly ever remember to use while browsing the web. Regarding the batchmate word, it says there that it's commonly used in the British commonwealth countries referring to a person who was in the same "batch" as you were in school, college, a military etc. Sure thing, it's not the word to be used at all, but now I know of its existence. Thanks again, I highly appreciate you help. – Lamplighter Jul 23 '16 at 0:38
  • @Rompey Re Batchmate being "commonly used in the British commonwealth countries", I believe P E Dant's answer is more accurate than Wiktionary in this case - it is not something you'd hear in Australian english for instance. – bruised reed Jul 23 '16 at 9:09
2

The words agemate and batchmate are seldom in use today, but anybody can understand their sense when used. The words you usually use are age when referring to a person of the same age and classmate when referring to a person of the same class. For examples:

He's my age or he's the same age as me.

He's my classmate.

However, you can use the word contemporary instead of agemate as follows:

She doesn't mix with her contemporaries, preferring older people (Cambridge).

  • You say "anyone can understand their sense", but this is false. I had no idea what a "batchmate" was until I read this post, and I would not have been able to guess. I am a native British English speaker. "Batchmate" appears to be exclusively a South Asian term, and I see you are from Pakistan. – TonyK Jul 23 '16 at 17:02
4

A word that has not been mentioned yet is cohort, which has a number of meanings, but one of which is:

  1. a group of persons sharing a particular statistical or demographic characteristic: eg. the cohort of all children born in 1980. - dictionary.com

As the definition says, this applies to the group, so to refer to an individual you require a modifying phrase, eg: "This particular patient is a member of the 1985 cohort". This construction maps relatively closely to your second and fourth words (perhaps your fifth too, but I'm not quite sure I follow the meaning you've explained there).

Classmate has already been referred to, but idiomatically, it's not often used after the fact, whereas a phrase whose meaning is somewhat similar to cohort, but used in a more specific context is graduating class (which is frequently used after the fact), from which the individual form is produced a little less clumsily as graduating classmate;

Another similar option: "he was from my year at school"; "she was in the same year as me at university".

  • Thanks for the additional information; it's been taken note of. – Lamplighter Jul 23 '16 at 8:58
0

coeval [koh-ee-vuh l]

adjective

  1. of the same age, date, or duration; equally old:

    Analysis has proved that this manuscript is coeval with that one.

  2. coincident:

    Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were only approximately coeval.

noun

  1. a contemporary:

    He is more serious than his coevals.


http://www.dictionary.com/browse/coeval

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