Mandem is a widely used slang term in British English that refers to a group of close friends or associates, usually made up of males.
It is equivalent to other terms such as “Crew” or “Posse” but is particularly associated with urban and street culture. The word is often used affectionately to describe a loyal group of friends who share a strong bond and support one another.
Outside the British Isles, it may be encountered in the Anglophone domains of the Caribbean, as well as parts of the United States, with a significant Jamaican minority.
Example: Josh: “Hey, what are you doing tonight?” Max: “Chilling with the mandem, we’re going to the park to play football.”
The term “Mandem” can be traced back to the British Afro-Caribbean community, specifically originating in Jamaican Patois, same as Bumbaclot.
In Patois, “man” is often used to refer to oneself or to address others, while “dem” means “them.” By combining these two words, “Mandem” was born. The phrase spread to the British isles during the Jamaican migration to England between the 1940s and 70s.
It later gained popularity in the 2000s through British rap and grime music, where artists used the term in their lyrics to refer to their close-knit group of friends.
Although initially popular within the British Afro-Caribbean community, the term “Mandem” has since spread to mainstream British culture and is now used by people from diverse backgrounds. Its adoption can be attributed to the influence of music, social media, and the overall cultural impact of urban slang. The term has even found its way into popular culture, with references to “Mandem” appearing in TV shows, movies as well as memes.
The popularity of the term was further developped in 2021, when a popular gang was formed in Grand Theft Auto Online, named “Mandem”.
Whether you’re part of a “Mandem” or not, the term has undoubtedly become a recognizable piece of contemporary British slang, highlighting the social connections and camaraderie between friends. So next time you’re chilling with your crew, remember you’re not just hanging out, you’re in the company of your trusted “Mandem.”