Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bud n.1

[SE brother but note later buddy n.]

1. a general nickname or term of address for a brother or eldest son, any boy or man, or a close friend.

[UK]Jonson Bartholomew Fair III i: Over.: What do you mean, sweet buds of gentility? Cokes: To ha’ my pennyworths out on you, bud.
[UK]Wycherley Country-Wife IV iv: O Lord, you are such a passionate man, bud!
Garrick Country Girl II ii: What do you call him Bud for? Bud means husband, and he is not your husband yet.
[US] ‘Polly Peablossom’s Wedding’ in T.A. Burke 19: ‘You oughtn’t to serve me so. An’t you joking, bud?’ asked Polly.
[US]Harper’s Mag. Aug. 450/1: He said that his name was ‘Bud’ Lightwood [DA].
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 324: A St. Louis beggar called ‘Bud’.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 71: bud, n. Brother; a small boy. Used familiarly in addressing a small boy and as a boy’s or man’s nickname.
[US]G. Bowerman diary 26 Aug. in Carnes Compensations of War (1983) 16: Say bud what’s your name?
[US]‘Digit’ Confessions of a Twentieth Century Hobo 158: I am just out of the service myself, bud.
[UK]E. Glyn Flirt & Flapper 13: Flirt: I’ll go back to my frame. Flapper: Yes, do, old Bud —must ring up my bootlegger.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 106: Where to, bud?
[US]C.H. Hogan ‘A Yankee ... on Texas Speech’ in AS XX:2 Apr. 84: And should ‘Sam Fitzwater’s boy’ belong to the younger generation he would refer to his brother as ‘my bud.’ [...] ‘My bud’s in the Marines on Guadal,’ a girl will say.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 23: I’d lay off if I was you, bud – that’s Al Capone’s girl.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 64: What’re ya tryna do, bud?
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 66: Hold on, Bud, we’re not finished with you yet.
[US]San Diego Sailor 16: Hold everything, bud.
[Aus]A. Weller Day of the Dog 10: Oo are you, any rate, bud?
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 339: Listen, bud, I’m flat broke.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 161: I owe you, bud.

2. a friend, an acquaintance.

[US]‘Digit’ Confessions of a Twentieth Century Hobo 11: Bud [...] Friend, chum, or mate.
[US]T.F. Jones Stairway to the Sea 55: Hamlet is big buds with this other cat, Horatio, and he’s got a tomato named Ophelia on the string.
[US]C. Stroud Close Pursuit (1988) 148: A mole, he’d be a party guy, everybody’s bud.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 11 June 5: They have an adventure together [...] and, of course, tearfully wind up as best buds.
[US]F.X. Toole Rope Burns 25: Most of the customers were good ol’ boys and their buds.
[US]G. Tate Midnight Lightning 9: They’re just my buds, y’all.