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adjective ma·te·ri·al \mə-ˈtir-ē-əl\

Simple Definition of material

  • : relating to or made of matter

  • : physical rather than spiritual or intellectual

  • : having real importance

Full Definition of material

  1. 1 a (1) :  relating to, derived from, or consisting of matter; especially :  physical <the material world> (2) :  bodily <material needs> b (1) :  of or relating to matter rather than form <material cause> (2) :  of or relating to the subject matter of reasoning; especially :  empirical <material knowledge>

  2. 2 :  having real importance or great consequences <facts material to the investigation>

  3. 3 a :  being of a physical or worldly nature b :  relating to or concerned with physical rather than spiritual or intellectual things <material progress>

ma·te·ri·al·ly play \-ē-ə-lē\ adverb
ma·te·ri·al·ness noun

Examples of material

  1. He is concerned only with his own material comforts.

  2. The researchers included all data that was material.

Origin of material

Middle English materiel, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin materialis, from Latin materia matter — more at matter

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of material

material, physical, corporeal, phenomenal, sensible, objective mean of or belonging to actuality. material implies formation out of tangible matter; used in contrast with spiritual or ideal it may connote the mundane, crass, or grasping <material values>. physical applies to what is perceived directly by the senses and may contrast with mental, spiritual, or imaginary <the physical benefits of exercise>. corporeal implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force <artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings>. phenomenal applies to what is known or perceived through the senses rather than by intuition or rational deduction <scientists concerned with the phenomenal world>. sensible stresses the capability of readily or forcibly impressing the senses <the earth's rotation is not sensible to us>. objective may stress material or independent existence apart from a subject perceiving it <no objective evidence of damage>.

synonyms see in addition relevant



noun ma·te·ri·al

Simple Definition of material

  • : a substance from which something is made or can be made

  • : a substance that has a particular quality

  • : something used in doing a particular activity

Full Definition of material

  1. 1 a (1) :  the elements, constituents, or substances of which something is composed or can be made (2) :  matter that has qualities which give it individuality and by which it may be categorized <sticky material> <explosive materials> b (1) :  something (as data) that may be worked into a more finished form <material for a biography> (2) :  something used for or made the object of study <material for the next semester> (3) :  a performer's repertoire <a comedian's material> c :  matter 3b d :  cloth e :  a person potentially suited to some pursuit <varsity material> <leadership material>

  2. 2 a :  apparatus necessary for doing or making something <writing materials> b :  matériel

Examples of material

  1. paper, plastic, or other materials

  2. She was never without reading material.

  3. The curtains required yards of expensive material.


First Known Use of material


Other Textiles Terms

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February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

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