• synonyms


or mat, matt

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  1. having a dull or lusterless surface: matte paint; a matte complexion; a photograph with a matte finish.
  1. a dull or dead surface, often slightly roughened, as on metals, paint, paper, or glass.
  2. a tool for producing such a surface.
  3. Metallurgy. an unfinished metallic product of the smelting of certain sulfide ores, especially those of copper.
  4. Movies. matte shot.
verb (used with object), mat·ted, mat·ting.
  1. to finish with a matte surface.

Origin of matte1

1640–50; < French mat (masculine), matte (feminine), Old French < Late Latin mattus moist, soft, weak, perhaps < *maditus, derivative of Latin madēre to be wet


noun Mining.
  1. a mass of timber caved beneath overburden so as to cushion the fall of the overburden and separate it from mineral to be extracted beneath.

Origin of matte2

< German; akin to mat1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for matte

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Matte Enamel, medium weight; Enameled, medium weight; Velvet, medium weight.

  • There was once a fisherman who was called Salmon, and his Christian name was Matte.

  • Matte and Maie grew fat on this fine living, and daily became richer.

  • The German term in the Glossary for panes ex pyrite is stein, the same as the modern German for matte.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

  • Three products result: (a) slag; (b) matte; (c) copper-gold-silver alloy.

    De Re Metallica

    Georgius Agricola

British Dictionary definitions for matte


  1. an impure fused material consisting of metal sulphides produced during the smelting of a sulphide ore

Word Origin

C19: from French


  1. films television a mask used to blank out part of an image so that another image can be superimposed
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

Word Origin and History for matte


"backing for a picture," 1845, from French; see mat (n.2).


variant of mat (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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