View synonyms for material


[ muh-teer-ee-uhl ]


  1. the substance or substances of which a thing is made or composed:

    Stone is a durable material.

  2. anything that serves as crude or raw matter to be used or developed:

    Wood pulp is the raw material from which paper is made.

  3. any constituent element.
  4. a textile fabric:

    material for a dress.

  5. a group of ideas, facts, data, etc., that may provide the basis for or be incorporated into some integrated work:

    to gather material for a history of North Carolina;

    to write material for a comedy show.

  6. materials, the articles or apparatus needed to make or do something:

    writing materials.

  7. a person considered as having qualities suited to a particular sphere of activity:

    The boy's teachers did not think he was college material.


  1. formed or consisting of matter; physical; corporeal:

    the material world.

    Antonyms: incorporeal

  2. relating to, concerned with, or involving matter:

    material forces.

  3. pertaining to the physical rather than the spiritual or intellectual aspect of things:

    material comforts.

  4. pertaining to or characterized by an undue interest in corporeal things; unspiritual.
  5. characterized by an overriding interest in wealth and possessions and the consumption of luxury goods and services:

    You could probably call him a material guy, as he’s had expensive tastes and a lust for fashion from the time he was a kid.

  6. of substantial import; of much consequence; important:

    Your support will make a material difference in the success of our program.

    Synonyms: vital, essential

    Antonyms: unimportant

  7. pertinent or essential (usually followed by to ):

    a question not material to the subject at hand.

  8. Law. likely to influence the determination of a case:

    material evidence.

  9. Philosophy. of or relating to matter as distinguished from form.


/ məˈtɪərɪəl /


  1. the substance of which a thing is made or composed; component or constituent matter

    raw material

  2. facts, notes, etc, that a finished work may be based on or derived from

    enough material for a book

  3. cloth or fabric
  4. a person who has qualities suitable for a given occupation, training, etc

    that boy is not university material


  1. of, relating to, or composed of physical substance; corporeal
  2. philosophy composed of or relating to physical as opposed to mental or spiritual substance

    the material world

  3. of, relating to, or affecting economic or physical wellbeing

    material ease

  4. of or concerned with physical rather than spiritual interests
  5. of great import or consequence

    of material benefit to the workers

  6. often foll by to relevant
  7. philosophy of or relating to matter as opposed to form
  8. law relevant to the issue before court: applied esp to facts or testimony of much significance

    a material witness

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Derived Forms

  • maˈterialness, noun

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Other Words From

  • ma·te·ri·al·ness noun
  • pre·ma·te·ri·al adjective
  • qua·si-ma·te·ri·al adjective
  • qua·si-ma·te·ri·al·ly adverb
  • su·per·ma·te·ri·al noun
  • trans·ma·te·ri·al adjective
  • un·ma·te·ri·al adjective
  • un·ma·te·ri·al·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of material1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Late Latin māteriālis “of, belonging to matter,” equivalent to māteri(a) “woody part of a tree, substance” ( matter ) + -ālis -al 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of material1

C14: via French from Late Latin māteriālis, from Latin māteria matter

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Synonym Study

See matter.

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Example Sentences

This is because all three used the same materials and pedagogical approach.

Facebook Business Suite has the potential to make them better social media marketers, which could then have a material impact on SMB sales — and survival.

The purse-size bag is made with whitewater-raft-shell material and eschews the typical roll-top or waterproof zipper for a double seal using strong magnets and Velcro.

First, the placement of the audit report to be discussed on our committee’s website is behind some 300 pages of other material, as if someone were trying to bury it.

NASA will sort out any retrieval plans for the material at a later date.

From Fortune

The CDA was passed not in the name of censorship but in the name of protecting children from stumbling across sexual material.

The genetic material can grow quickly, but are typically riddled with errors or defects.

Cold War fears could be manipulated through misleading art to attract readers to daunting material.

Where the U.S. once depended on its own forces to determine who was military material, this time the Iraqis will decide.

In any case, some enterprising independent producer might have enough material for a reality-show pilot.

Eggs and nestlings were found lying on the bare soil at the inner ends of the burrows; no nesting material was found.

I would ask you to imagine it translated into every language, a common material of understanding throughout all the world.

The sleeves of his doublet which protruded from his leather casing were of the same colour and material as his trunks.

It makes out of the savage raw material which is our basal mental stuff, a citizen.

She waited for the material pictures which she thought would gather and blaze before her imagination.


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More About Material

What is a basic definition of material?

Material refers to a thing that something else is made out of. Material can also refer to cloth or can be used to describe something that is made of matter and exists in the physical world. Material has many other senses as a noun and an adjective.

If something is a housing material, it is an item that is used to build a house. Nearly anything could be a material, as long as it is possible to use it to make something else. In this sense, material is similar to the word ingredient.

  • Real-life examples: Stone, wood, metal, bamboo, and brick are used as building materials. Many toys have plastic as their primary material. Glass is a common material for windows and containers.
  • Used in a sentence: The box was made out of some sort of spongy material. 

Material is also used to refer to the cloth or fabrics that are used in weaving, sewing, or knitting.

  • Real-life examples: Wool, silk, polyester, cotton, and velvet are some common materials used to make clothing and many other products.
  • Used in a sentence: The dress was made using a very soft material. 

Material is used to describe something that is made of matter and exists in our physical reality. Think about something that isn’t material, like a ghost. A ghost is not material because it cannot be detected with any of our senses and is not made out of anything we can understand. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas are also not material. You can’t touch them or see them. In this sense, material is often used to contrast terms like spiritual, intangible, and metaphysical.

  • Real-life examples: Everything that we can experience or detect using our senses is material. This includes all things that exist in our universe, such as people, animals, rocks, water, and the stars.
  • Used in a sentence: Philosophers often think beyond the material world.

Where does material come from?

The first records of material come from around 1300. It comes from the Late Latin māteriālis, meaning “of or belonging to matter.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to material?

  • materialness (noun)
  • prematerial (adjective)
  • quasimaterial (adjective)
  • quasimaterially (adverb)
  • transmaterial (adjective)

What are some synonyms for material?

What are some words that share a root or word element with material

What are some words that often get used in discussing material?

What are some words material may be commonly confused with?

How is material used in real life?

Material is a common word that has many different meanings. It is frequently used to refer to a substance that something is made of.

Try using material!

Is material used correctly in the following sentence?

Wood is a common material used to build tables and chairs.




materfamiliasmaterial cause