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[mach] /mætʃ/
a slender piece of wood, cardboard, or other flammable material tipped with a chemical substance that produces fire when rubbed on a rough or chemically prepared surface.
a wick, cord, or the like, prepared to burn at an even rate, used to fire cannon, gunpowder, etc.
Origin of match1
1350-1400; Middle English macche wick < Middle French meiche, Old French mesche < Vulgar Latin *mesca lamp wick, metathetic variant of Latin myxa < Greek mýxa mucus, nostril, nozzle of a lamp


[mach] /mætʃ/
a person or thing that equals or resembles another in some respect.
a person or thing able to cope with another as an equal:
to meet one's match.
a person or thing that is an exact counterpart of another.
a corresponding, suitably associated, or harmonious pair:
The blue hat and green scarf were not a good match.
  1. a game or contest in which two or more contestants or teams oppose each other:
    a soccer match.
  2. a contest consisting of a specific number of sets:
    a tennis match.
any contest or competition that resembles a sports match:
a shouting match.
a person considered with regard to suitability as a partner in marriage:
a good match.
a matrimonial union; marriage:
Neither family approved of the match.
verb (used with object)
to equal; be equal to:
My talent does not match his.
to be the match or counterpart of; harmonize with:
The skirt matches the jacket perfectly.
to cause to correspond; adapt:
to match one's actions to one's beliefs.
to fit together, as two things:
to match the pieces of a puzzle.
to fit (boards) together, side by side or end to end, with a tongue-and-groove or rabbeted joint.
to procure or produce an equal to:
Try though we did, we could not match our first success.
to place in opposition or conflict:
I matched my wits against his strength.
to provide with an adversary or competitor of equal power:
The teams were well matched.
to encounter as an adversary with equal power.
to prove a match for.
to unite in marriage; procure a matrimonial alliance for.
to toss (coins) into the air and then compare the matching or contrasting sides that land facing up, as for determining the winner of a bet.
to match coins with.
verb (used without object)
to be equal or suitable:
Our talents match.
to correspond; be of corresponding size, shape, color, pattern, etc.:
These gloves do not match.
Archaic. to ally oneself in marriage.
before 900; Middle English macche, Old English gemæcca mate, fellow
Related forms
matchable, adjective
matcher, noun
unmatchable, adjective
unmatched, adjective
unmatching, adjective
well-matched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for match
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What a dangerous character you'd be if you were sent to match silks!

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "For axemen and for spearmen I have not seen their match," the archer answered.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The thing was outrageous to him, and he set himself to match her cunning.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • They have journeyed far, sire, but they have never yet found their match.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • She saw the flicker of the match across the street, and knew what it meant.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for match


a formal game or sports event in which people, teams, etc, compete to win
a person or thing able to provide competition for another: she's met her match in talking ability
a person or thing that resembles, harmonizes with, or is equivalent to another in a specified respect: that coat is a good match for your hat
a person or thing that is an exact copy or equal of another
  1. a partnership between a man and a woman, as in marriage
  2. an arrangement for such a partnership
a person regarded as a possible partner, as in marriage
verb (mainly transitive)
to fit (parts) together: to match the tongue and groove of boards
(also intransitive) sometimes foll by up. to resemble, harmonize with, correspond to, or equal (one another or something else): the skirt matches your shoes well
sometimes foll by with or against. to compare in order to determine which is the superior: they matched wits
often foll by to or with. to adapt so as to correspond with: to match hope with reality
often foll by with or against. to arrange a competition between
to find a match for
(electronics) to connect (two circuits) so that their impedances are equal or are equalized by a coupling device, to produce a maximum transfer of energy
Derived Forms
matchable, adjective
matcher, noun
matching, adjective
Word Origin
Old English gemæcca spouse; related to Old High German gimmaha wife, Old Norse maki mate


a thin strip of wood or cardboard tipped with a chemical that ignites by friction when rubbed on a rough surface or a surface coated with a suitable chemical See safety match
a length of cord or wick impregnated with a chemical so that it burns slowly. It is used to fire cannons, explosives, etc
Word Origin
C14: from Old French meiche, perhaps from Latin myxa wick, from Greek muxa lamp nozzle
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 match

"stick for striking fire," late 14c., macche, "wick of a candle or lamp," from Old French meiche "wick of a candle," from Vulgar Latin *micca/*miccia (cf. Catalan metxa, Spanish mecha, Italian miccia), probably ultimately from Latin myxa, from Greek myxa "lamp wick," originally "mucus," based on notion of wick dangling from the spout of a lamp like snot from a nostril, from PIE root *meug- "slimy, slippery" (see mucus). Modern spelling is from mid-15c. (English snot also had a secondary sense of "snuff of a candle, burnt part of a wick" from late 14c., surviving at least to late 19c. in northern dialects.)

Meaning "piece of cord or splinter of wood soaked in sulfur, used for lighting fires, lamps, candles, etc." is from 1530. First used 1831 for the modern type of wooden friction match, and competed with lucifer for much of 19c. as the name for this invention.


"one of a pair, an equal," Old English mæcca, "companion, mate, one of a pair, wife, husband, one suited to another, an equal," from gemæcca, from Proto-Germanic *gamakon "fitting well together" (cf. Old Saxon gimaco "fellow, equal," Old High German gimah "comfort, ease," Middle High German gemach "comfortable, quiet," German gemach "easy, leisurely"), from PIE root *mak-/*mag- "to fit" (see make (v.)). Middle English sense of "matching adversary, person able to contend with another" (c.1300) led to sporting meaning "contest," first attested 1540s.


"to join one to another" (originally especially in marriage), late 14c., from match (n.2). Meaning "to place (one) in conflict with (another)" is from c.1400. That of "to pair with a view to fitness" is from 1520s; that of "to be equal to" is from 1590s. Related: Matched; matching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for match


Related Terms

the whole shooting match

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with match
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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