- a piece of fabric made of plaited or woven rushes, straw, hemp, or similar fiber, or of some other pliant material, as rubber, used as a protective covering on a floor or other surface, to wipe the shoes on, etc.
- a smaller piece of material, often ornamental, set under a dish of food, a lamp, vase, etc.
- the padded canvas covering the entire floor of a wrestling ring, for protecting the contestants from injury when thrown.
- a thick pad placed on the floor for the protection of tumblers and others engaged in gymnastic sports.
- a thickly growing or thick and tangled mass, as of hair or weeds.
- a sack made of matting, as for coffee or sugar.
- a slablike footing of concrete, especially one for an entire building.
- a heavy mesh reinforcement for a concrete slab.
- to cover with or as if with mats or matting.
- to form into a mat, as by interweaving.
- to become entangled; form tangled masses.
- go to the mat, to contend or struggle in a determined or unyielding way: The president is going to the mat with Congress over the proposed budget cuts.
Origin of mat1
- a piece of cardboard or other material placed over or under a drawing, painting, photograph, etc., to serve as a frame or provide a border between the picture and the frame.
- to provide (a picture) with a mat.
Origin of mat2
- the intaglio, usually of papiermâché, impressed from type or a cut, from which a stereotype plate is cast.
- matrix(def 8).
Origin of mat4
or mat, matt
- having a dull or lusterless surface: matte paint; a matte complexion; a photograph with a matte finish.
- a dull or dead surface, often slightly roughened, as on metals, paint, paper, or glass.
- a tool for producing such a surface.
- Metallurgy. an unfinished metallic product of the smelting of certain sulfide ores, especially those of copper.
- Movies. matte shot.
- to finish with a matte surface.
Origin of matte1
- Master of Arts in Teaching.
Examples from the Web for mat
If they were well thought through, with a clear plan of execution, she was in, and ready to go to the mat.The Valerie Jarrett I Know: How She Saved the Obama Campaign and Why She’s Indispensable
November 18, 2014
By remarkable contrast, younger musicians who really go to the mat for political controversy can become superstars.The GOP’s Real Ted Nugent Problem
February 22, 2014
They can go to the mat for him with donors and insiders and pull every string they can to wire a speakership vote.It's All on Boehner
October 3, 2013
My housekeeper had been there and left the key under the mat for me, so they took the key, made a copy of it, and brought it back.Paris Hilton on ‘The Bling Ring,’ Kim Kardashian, and Her Cash Money Records Album
June 12, 2013
Republicans are likely to go to the mat to stall these picks, and Reid has now laid out a red line of his own.Harry Reid's Good Idea: Kill Filibusters on Appointments
May 17, 2013
Say, he told me they've got a mat at the door with 'Welcome' on it—in letters three feet high.Within the Law
Put him into a mat, and roll him up in it without killing him.
Then the rascal put him naked into the mat, and tied it round tight.
The servants put the rascal into the mat, and tied it round tight.
Nor did she dream that he had made a mat of his glory for her to walk upon.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
- a thick flat piece of fabric used as a floor covering, a place to wipe one's shoes, etc
- a smaller pad of material used to protect a surface from the heat, scratches, etc, of an object placed upon it
- a large piece of thick padded material put on the floor as a surface for wrestling, judo, or gymnastic sports
- NZ a Māori cloak
- go back to the mat NZ to abandon urban civilization
- any surface or mass that is densely interwoven or tangleda mat of grass and weeds
- the solid part of a lace design
- a heavy net of cable or rope laid over a blasting site to prevent the scatter of debris
- a heavy mesh of reinforcement in a concrete slab
- (esp US) a steel or concrete raft serving as a footing to support a post
- civil engineering short for mattress (def. 3)
- to tangle or weave or become tangled or woven into a dense mass
- (tr) to cover with a mat or mats
- a border of cardboard, cloth, etc, placed around a picture to act as a frame or as a contrast between picture and frame
- a surface, as on metal or paint
- having a dull, lustreless, or roughened surface
- to furnish (a picture) with a mat
- to give (a surface) a mat finish
- printing informal short for matrix (def. 5)
- an impure fused material consisting of metal sulphides produced during the smelting of a sulphide ore
- films television a mask used to blank out part of an image so that another image can be superimposed
Word Origin and History for mat
loosely joined natural materials used as bedding, etc., Old English matte, from Late Latin matta "mat made of rushes" (4c.), probably from Punic or Phoenician matta (cf. Hebrew mittah "bed, couch"). Meaning "tangled mass" is from 1835. That of "piece of padded flooring used in gymnastics or wrestling" is attested from 1892; hence figurative phrase go to the mat "do battle" (1910). The Latin word also is the source of German Matte, matze; Dutch mat, Italian matta. French natte "mat, matting" is from Late Latin secondary form natta (cf. napkin).
1640s, "lusterless, dull" (of a color or surface), from French mat "dull, dead surface," from Old French mat "beaten down, withered, afflicted, dejected; dull," which is perhaps from Latin mattus "maudlin with drink," from madere "to be wet or sodden, be drunk," from PIE root *mad- "to be wet, drip" (see mast (n.2)). Or the French word might represent a transferred use from chess of mater "to checkmate, defeat," from Arabic (see mate (v.2)).
"sheet of backing material," 1845, from French mat "dull surface or finish" (15c.), noun use of Old French mat (adj.); see mat (adj.).
early 15c., "to make mats," from mat (n.1). From 1540s as "to provide with mats, to cover with mats;" meaning "to become tangled" is from 1570s. Related: Matted; matting.
"backing for a picture," 1845, from French; see mat (n.2).
variant of mat (n.2).