buddy (n.)

1850, American English, possibly an alteration of brother, or from British colloquial butty "companion" (1802), itself perhaps a variant of booty in booty fellow "confederate who shares plunder" (1520s). But butty, meaning "work-mate," also was a localized dialect word in England and Wales, attested since 18c., and long associated with coal miners. Short form bud is attested from 1851. Reduplicated form buddy-buddy (adj.) attested by 1952, American English.

Lenny Kent, a long-time fave here, is really in his element. ... After four weeks here he's got everyone in town saying, "Hiya, Buddy, Buddy" with a drawl simulating his. [Review of Ned Schuyler's 5 O'Clock Club, Miami Beach, Fla., Billboard, Nov. 12, 1949]

Buddy system attested from 1920.

buddy (v.)

1925, usually with up, from buddy (n.); perhaps originally U.S. underworld slang. Related: Buddied; buddying.

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Definitions of buddy from WordNet

buddy (n.)
a close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities;
Synonyms: brother / chum / crony / pal / sidekick