matter
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈmætə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈmætɚ/, [ˈmæɾɚ]
Noun

matter

  1. Substance, material.
    1. (physics) The basic structural component of the universe. Matter usually has mass and volume.
    2. (physics) Matter made up of normal particles, not antiparticles.
      Antonyms: antimatter
    3. A kind of substance.
      vegetable matter
    4. Printed material, especially in books or magazines.
      He always took some reading matter with him on the plane.
    5. (philosophy) Aristotelian: undeveloped potentiality subject to change and development; formlessness. Matter receives form, and becomes substance.
  2. A condition, subject or affair, especially one of concern.
    What's the matter?;   state matters
    • 1597, Francis Bacon, Of the Colours of Good and Evil
      if the matter should be tried by duel
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 3”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Son of God, Saviour of men! Thy name / Shall be the copious matter of my song.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Exodus xviii:22 ↗:
      Every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge.
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      The matter of whether the world needs a fourth Ice Age movie pales beside the question of why there were three before it, but Continental Drift feels less like an extension of a theatrical franchise than an episode of a middling TV cartoon, lolling around on territory that’s already been settled.
  3. An approximate amount or extent.
    I stayed for a matter of months.
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain, […] , London: Printed by J.M. for James Alleſtry, […] , OCLC 78038412 ↗:
      No small matter of British forces were commanded over sea the year before.
    • 1692, Roger L'Estrange, ''''
      Away he goes, […] a matter of seven miles.
    • I have thoughts to tarry a small matter.
  4. (obsolete) The essence; the pith; the embodiment.
    • 1611, Ben Jonson, Oberon, the Faery Prince
      He is the matter of virtue.
  5. (obsolete) Inducing cause or reason, especially of anything disagreeable or distressing.
    • 1644, John Milton, The Doctrine or Discipline of Divorce:
      And this is the matter why interpreters upon that passage in Hosea will not consent it to be a true story, that the prophet took a harlot to wife.
  6. (dated) Pus.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

matter (matters, present participle mattering; past and past participle mattered)

  1. (intransitive) To be important. [from 16th c.]
    The only thing that matters to Jim is being rich.
    Sorry for pouring ketchup on your clean white shirt! - Oh, don't worry, it does not matter.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828 ↗:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, […]. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. […] I do not suppose that it matters much in reality whether laws are made by dukes or cornerboys, but I like, as far as possible, to associate with gentlemen in private life.
  2. (transitive, in negative constructions, now, England regional, Caribbean) To care about, to mind; to find important. [from 17th c.]
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify ), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292 ↗:
      |||tr=|brackets=|subst=|lit=|nocat=1|footer=}}|}}
      , Folio Society 1973, p.47:
      Besides, if it had been out of doors I had not mattered it so much; but with my own servant, in my own house, under my own roof […]
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Letter 56:
      He matter'd not that, he said; coy maids made the fondest wives […].
  3. (intransitive, medicine, archaic) To form pus or matter#Noun|matter, as an abscess; to maturate.
    • Each slight sore mattereth.
Synonyms Translations
Matter
Proper noun
  1. Surname



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