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[mat-uh-dawr] /ˈmæt əˌdɔr/
the principal bullfighter in a bullfight who passes the bull with a muleta and then, in many countries, kills it with a sword thrust; a torero.
one of the principal cards in skat and certain other games.
(initial capital letter) a jet-powered U.S. surface-to-surface missile.
Origin of matador
1665-75; < Spanish, equivalent to mata(r) to kill (perhaps < Vulgar Latin *mattāre, presumed derivative of Late Latin mattus soft, weak; cf. matte1) +-dor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for matador
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were several Italian peasants, a Cavalier, a Roundhead, and a matador.

  • No matador in all Spain could have performed the feat more cleverly.

    The Desert Home Mayne Reid
  • I prayed that the matador had met with a similar interruption!

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • It was Isabella who first saw the matador, and uttered an exclamation.

    The Pretty Sister Of Jos Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The matador of the fourth bull made an exceedingly bad thrust.

    Poor Folk in Spain Jan Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for matador


the principal bullfighter who is appointed to kill the bull
(in some card games such as skat) one of the highest ranking cards
a game played with dominoes in which the dots on adjacent halves must total seven
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish, from matar to kill
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for matador

man who kills the bull in a bullfight, 1670s, from Spanish matador, literally "killer," from matar "to kill or wound," probably from Arabic mata "he died," from Persian (see second element in checkmate). Fem. form is matadora.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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