[ mach ]
See synonyms for match on
  1. 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.

  2. a wick, cord, or the like, prepared to burn at an even rate, used to fire cannon, gunpowder, etc.

Origin of match

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English meccche, macche “wick,” from Middle French meiche, Old French me(s)che, from unattested Vulgar Latin mesca “lamp wick,” variant of Latin myxa, from Greek mýxa “mucus, nostril, nozzle of a lamp”

Other definitions for match (2 of 2)

[ mach ]

  1. a person or thing that equals or resembles another in some respect.

  2. a person or thing able to cope with another as an equal: to meet one's match.

  1. a person or thing that is an exact counterpart of another.

  2. a corresponding, suitably associated, or harmonious pair: The blue hat and green scarf were not a good match.

  3. Sports.

    • a game or contest in which two or more contestants or teams oppose each other: a soccer match.

    • a contest consisting of a specific number of sets: a tennis match.

  4. any contest or competition that resembles a sports match: a shouting match.

  5. a person considered with regard to suitability as a partner in marriage: a good match.

  6. a matrimonial union; marriage: Neither family approved of the match.

verb (used with object)
  1. to equal; be equal to: My talent does not match his.

  2. to be the match or counterpart of; harmonize with: The skirt matches the jacket perfectly.

  1. to cause to correspond; adapt: to match one's actions to one's beliefs.

  2. to fit together, as two things: to match the pieces of a puzzle.

  3. to fit (boards) together, side by side or end to end, with a tongue-and-groove or rabbeted joint.

  4. to procure or produce an equal to: Try though we did, we could not match our first success.

  5. to place in opposition or conflict: I matched my wits against his strength.

  6. to provide with an adversary or competitor of equal power: The teams were well matched.

  7. to encounter as an adversary with equal power.

  8. to prove a match for.

  9. to unite in marriage; procure a matrimonial alliance for.

  10. 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.

  11. to match coins with.

verb (used without object)
  1. to be equal or suitable: Our talents match.

  2. to correspond; be of corresponding size, shape, color, pattern, etc.: These gloves do not match.

  1. Archaic. to ally oneself in marriage.

Origin of match

First recorded before 900; Middle English ma(c)che, me(c)che “husband, wife, mate, equal,” Old English gemæcca, gemecca “mate, fellow, consort”

Other words for match

Other words from match

  • match·a·ble, adjective
  • matcher, noun
  • un·match·a·ble, adjective
  • un·matched, adjective
  • un·match·ing, adjective
  • well-matched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use match in a sentence

  • While everywhere were electric lights and roses, matching one against the other their brilliant hues.

    The Sunbridge Girls at Six Star Ranch | Eleanor H. (Eleanor Hodgman) Porter
  • I did extract from our files all messages matching the message numbers on the cash sheet prepared by Mrs. McClure.

    Warren Commission (10 of 26): Hearings Vol. X (of 15) | The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • Long he sat, and the darkness fell over the moor, matching the darkness that brooded over his heart and mind.

    The Underworld | James C. Welsh
  • But something still needed to be done in the way of matching the colour of the original.

    A Thin Ghost and Others | M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James
  • Long after Richard had fallen asleep, Herbert sat with Theroulde, matching good stories before the camp-fire.

    God Wills It! | William Stearns Davis

British Dictionary definitions for match (1 of 2)


/ (mætʃ) /

  1. a formal game or sports event in which people, teams, etc, compete to win

  2. a person or thing able to provide competition for another: she's met her match in talking ability

  1. 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

  2. a person or thing that is an exact copy or equal of another

    • a partnership between a man and a woman, as in marriage

    • an arrangement for such a partnership

  3. a person regarded as a possible partner, as in marriage

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to fit (parts) together: to match the tongue and groove of boards

  2. (also intr sometimes foll by up) to resemble, harmonize with, correspond to, or equal (one another or something else): the skirt matches your shoes well

  1. (sometimes foll by with or against) to compare in order to determine which is the superior: they matched wits

  2. (often foll by to or with) to adapt so as to correspond with: to match hope with reality

  3. (often foll by with or against) to arrange a competition between

  4. to find a match for

  5. 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

Origin of match

Old English gemæcca spouse; related to Old High German gimmaha wife, Old Norse maki mate

Derived forms of match

  • matchable, adjective
  • matcher, noun
  • matching, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for match (2 of 2)


/ (mætʃ) /

  1. 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

  2. a length of cord or wick impregnated with a chemical so that it burns slowly. It is used to fire cannons, explosives, etc

Origin of match

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with match


see meet one's match; mix and match; whole ball of wax (shooting match).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.