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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for matador

toreador, torero

Examples from the Web for matador

Contemporary Examples of matador

Historical Examples of matador

  • 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.

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 for matador

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

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