(often initial capital letter) matins. Also especially British, mattins. (usually used with a singular verb) Ecclesiastical.
  1. the first of the seven canonical hours.
  2. the service for it, properly beginning at midnight, but sometimes beginning at daybreak.
  3. Also called Morning Prayer.the service of public prayer, said in the morning, in the Anglican Church.
Archaic. aubade.


Also mat·in·al. pertaining to the morning or to matins.

Origin of matin

1200–50; Middle English matyn (plural matines) < Old French matin < Latin mātūtīnus matutinal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for matins

Historical Examples of matins

  • The bishop did not appear at matins, or at the later church service.

  • He paused at one of them, and read aloud the third lesson of Matins.

    En Route

    J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans

  • Then the midnight hour struck, and it was time to rise for Matins.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • Perhaps you like this better:—'Yesterday I went to town and heard the matins read.

  • The chimes were ringing to matins and the devout were entering to the early mass.

    On the Mexican Highlands

    William Seymour Edwards

British Dictionary definitions for matins



noun (functioning as singular or plural)

  1. mainly RC Churchthe first of the seven canonical hours of prayer, originally observed at night but now often recited with lauds at daybreak
  2. the service of morning prayer in the Church of England
literary a morning song, esp of birds

Word Origin for matins

C13: from Old French, ultimately from Latin mātūtīnus of the morning, from Mātūta goddess of dawn


mattin matinal


of or relating to matins

Word Origin for matin

C14: see matins
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 matins

canonical hour, mid-13c., from Old French matines (12c.), from Late Latin matutinas (nominative matutinæ) "morning prayers," originally matutinas vigilias "morning watches," from Latin matutinus "of or in the morning," associated with Matuta, Roman dawn goddess (see manana). The Old English word was uht-sang, from uhte "daybreak."



see matins.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper