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matter

[mat-er]
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noun
  1. the substance or substances of which any physical object consists or is composed: the matter of which the earth is made.
  2. physical or corporeal substance in general, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, especially as distinguished from incorporeal substance, as spirit or mind, or from qualities, actions, and the like.
  3. something that occupies space.
  4. a particular kind of substance: coloring matter.
  5. a situation, state, affair, or business: a trivial matter.
  6. an amount or extent reckoned approximately: a matter of 10 miles.
  7. something of consequence: matter for serious thought.
  8. importance or significance: decisions of little matter.
  9. difficulty; trouble (usually preceded by the): There is something the matter.
  10. ground, reason, or cause: a matter for complaint.
  11. the material or substance of a discourse, book, etc., often as distinguished from its form.
  12. things put down in words, especially printed: reading matter.
  13. things sent by mail: postal matter.
  14. a substance discharged by a living body, especially pus.
  15. Philosophy.
    1. that which by integrative organization forms chemical substances and living things.
    2. Aristotelianism.that which relates to form as potentiality does to actuality.
  16. Law. statement or allegation.
  17. Printing.
    1. material for work; copy.
    2. type set up.
  18. Christian Science. the concept of substance shaped by the limitations of the human mind.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be of importance; signify: It matters little.
  2. Pathology. to suppurate.
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Idioms
  1. a matter of life and death, something of vital or crucial importance.
  2. as a matter of fact, in reality; actually; in fact: As a matter of fact, there is no substance to that rumor.
  3. for that matter, as far as that is concerned; as for that: For that matter, you are no better qualified to judge than I.Also for the matter of that.
  4. no matter,
    1. regardless or irrespective of: We'll never finish on time, no matter how hard we work.
    2. it is unimportant; it makes no difference: No matter, this string will do as well as any other.
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Origin of matter

1175–1225; Middle English mater(e), materie < Anglo-French, Old French mat(i)ere, materie < Latin māteria woody part of a tree, material, substance, derivative of māter mother1
Related formsmat·ter·ful, adjectivemat·ter·less, adjectivenon·mat·ter, noun
Can be confusedmadder matter

Synonym study

1. Matter, material, stuff, substance refer to that of which physical objects are composed (though all these terms are also used abstractly). Matter, as distinct from mind and spirit, is a broad word that applies to anything perceived, or known to be occupying space: solid matter; gaseous matter. Material usually means some definite kind, quality, or quantity of matter, especially as intended for use: woolen material; a house built of good materials. Stuff, a less technical word, with approximately the same meanings as material, is characterized by being on an informal level when it refers to physical objects ( Dynamite is queer stuff ), and on a literary or poetic one when it is used abstractly ( the stuff that dreams are made on ). Substance is the matter that composes a thing, thought of in relation to its essential properties: a sticky substance.

Synonyms

See more synonyms for matter on Thesaurus.com
5. question. 7. concern. 8. moment. 11. subject, topic. 19. count.

matt

[mat]
adjective, noun, verb (used with object)
  1. matte1.
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matte1

or mat, matt

[mat]
adjective
  1. having a dull or lusterless surface: matte paint; a matte complexion; a photograph with a matte finish.
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noun
  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.
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verb (used with object), mat·ted, mat·ting.
  1. to finish with a matte surface.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for matter

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But of course it will be only fair to sis to lay the matter before her just as it is.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He leaned back, and began to puff leisurely at his pipe, as if this settled the matter.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "There is one other matter I wanted to speak to you about, Mr. Paine," he said.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • In the matter of minor industries, sericulture holds a first rank.

  • That he was constantly cheerful proved the matter of his musings to be pleasant.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson


British Dictionary definitions for matter

matter

noun
  1. that which makes up something, esp a physical object; material
  2. substance that occupies space and has mass, as distinguished from substance that is mental, spiritual, etc
  3. substance of a specified typevegetable matter; reading matter
  4. (sometimes foll by of or for) thing; affair; concern; questiona matter of taste; several matters to attend to; no laughing matter
  5. a quantity or amounta matter of a few pence
  6. the content of written or verbal material as distinct from its style or form
  7. (used with a negative) importance; consequence
  8. philosophy (in the writings of Aristotle and the Scholastics) that which is itself formless but can receive form and become substance
  9. philosophy (in the Cartesian tradition) one of two basic modes of existence, the other being mind : matter being extended in space as well as time
  10. printing
    1. type set up, either standing or for use
    2. copy to be set in type
  11. a secretion or discharge, such as pus
  12. law
    1. something to be proved
    2. statements or allegations to be considered by a court
  13. for that matter as regards that
  14. See grey matter
  15. no matter
    1. regardless of; irrespective ofno matter what the excuse, you must not be late
    2. (sentence substitute)it is unimportant
  16. the matter wrong; the troublethere's nothing the matter
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verb (intr)
  1. to be of consequence or importance
  2. to form and discharge pus
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Word Origin

C13 (n), C16 (vb): from Latin māteria cause, substance, esp wood, or a substance that produces something else; related to māter mother

matt

matte

adjective, noun, verb
  1. variant spellings of mat 2 (def. 2), mat 1 (def. 3), mat 2 (def. 5)
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matte1

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

C19: from French

matte2

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

n.

c.1200, materie, "subject of thought, speech, or expression," from Anglo-French matere, Old French matere "subject, theme, topic; substance, content, material; character, education" (12c., Modern French matière), from Latin materia "substance from which something is made," also "hard inner wood of a tree" (cf. Portuguese madeira "wood"), from mater "origin, source, mother" (see mother (n.1)). Or, on another theory, it represents *dmateria, from PIE root *dem-/*dom- (cf. Latin domus "house," English timber). With sense development in Latin influenced by Greek hyle, of which it was the equivalent in philosophy.

Meaning "physical substance generally, matter, material" is early 14c.; that of "substance of which some specific object is made or consists of" is attested from late 14c. That of "piece of business, affair, activity, situation, circumstance" is from late 14c. From mid-14c. as "subject of a literary work, content of what is written, main theme." Also in Middle English as "cause, reasons, ground; essential character; field of investigation."

Matter of course "something expected" attested from 1739. For that matter attested from 1670s. What is the matter "what concerns (someone), the cause of the difficulty" is attested from mid-15c. To make no matter "be no difference to" also is mid-15c.

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v.

"to be of importance or consequence," 1580s, from matter (n.). Related: Mattered; mattering.

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matte

n.

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

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matte

n.

variant of mat (n.2).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

matter in Medicine

matter

(mătər)
n.
  1. Something that occupies space and can be perceived by one or more senses.
  2. A specific type of substance.
  3. Discharge or waste, such as pus or feces, from a living organism.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

matter in Science

matter

[mătər]
  1. Something that has mass. Most of the matter in the universe is composed of atoms which are themselves composed of subatomic particles. See also energy state of matter.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

matter in Culture

matter

In physics, something that has mass and is distinct from energy. (See phases of matter.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with matter

matter

In addition to the idioms beginning with matter

also see:

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