Here in Chile,
mateo / matea means someone who studies very often, someone diligent who always does his homework at school or college.
According to "Voces de origen lunfardo en el registro festivo
del diario chileno La Cuarta" 1
, its origin comes from the word
mate which means
mate → head
mateo → someone who uses his head
mate could have its origin from the Quechua
máti which means something like "little pumpkin" (and could probably be related —in a figurative sense— to the human head because of its form).
Do not confuse the many meanings of word
mate here in South America (the regions where they are used have been taken from RAE):
- (coloq. Arg., Bol., Chile y Ur.) "human head"
- (Arg., Bol., Chile y Ur. ) "the recipient where the infusion called
yerba mate is served/poured"
- (coloq. Arg., Bol. y Ur.) "judge", "talent", "ability".
- (Bol. y Perú.) "infusion" or "tea"
1.- Abelardo San Martín Núñez: "Voces de origen lunfardo en el registro festivo
del diario chileno La Cuarta", pp 134-135.