verb (used without object)

to be of importance; signify: It matters little.
Pathology. to suppurate.


    a matter of life and death, something of vital or crucial importance.
    as a matter of fact, in reality; actually; in fact: As a matter of fact, there is no substance to that rumor.
    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.
    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.

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 for matter

5. question. 7. concern. 8. moment. 11. subject, topic. 19. count. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for matterless

Historical Examples of matterless

British Dictionary definitions for matterless



that which makes up something, esp a physical object; material
substance that occupies space and has mass, as distinguished from substance that is mental, spiritual, etc
substance of a specified typevegetable matter; reading matter
(sometimes foll by of or for) thing; affair; concern; questiona matter of taste; several matters to attend to; no laughing matter
a quantity or amounta matter of a few pence
the content of written or verbal material as distinct from its style or form
(used with a negative) importance; consequence
philosophy (in the writings of Aristotle and the Scholastics) that which is itself formless but can receive form and become substance
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
  1. type set up, either standing or for use
  2. copy to be set in type
a secretion or discharge, such as pus
  1. something to be proved
  2. statements or allegations to be considered by a court
for that matter as regards that
no matter
  1. regardless of; irrespective ofno matter what the excuse, you must not be late
  2. (sentence substitute)it is unimportant
the matter wrong; the troublethere's nothing the matter

verb (intr)

to be of consequence or importance
to form and discharge pus

Word Origin for matter

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

late 14c., "insubstantial, immaterial, without physical substance," from matter (n.) + -less. From 1610s as "devoid of sense or meaning."



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for matterless




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

Science definitions for matterless



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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for matterless


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

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 matterless


In addition to the idioms beginning with matter

  • matter of course, a
  • matter of fact, a
  • matter of life and death, a
  • matter of opinion, a

also see:

  • crux of the matter
  • for that matter
  • gray matter
  • mince matters
  • mind over matter
  • no joke (laughing matter)
  • no matter
  • the matter
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.