material

1 of 2

adjective

ma·​te·​ri·​al mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio)
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
the material aspect of being
(2)
: of or relating to the subject matter of reasoning
especially : empirical
material knowledge
2
: having real importance or great consequences
facts material to the investigation
3
a
: being of a physical or worldly nature
a grossly material form of love
b
: relating to or concerned with physical rather than spiritual or intellectual things
material progress
provide material assistance
materially adverb
materialness noun

material

2 of 2

noun

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 (such 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
d
: cloth
e
: a person potentially suited to some pursuit
varsity material
leadership material
2
a
: apparatus necessary for doing or making something
writing materials
b
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of material in a Sentence

Adjective He is concerned only with his own material comforts. The researchers included all data that was material. Noun paper, plastic, or other materials She was never without reading material. The curtains required yards of expensive material.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
McGonigal pleaded guilty in September to concealing material facts, a charge punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years. Michael Kunzelman The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 17 Feb. 2024 The plush bird at the end of the string is stuffed with cat nip and crinkly material to entice your furry friend. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 As the skills-first approach continues to gain traction, investors should stay tuned in to the ways that harnessing best-in-class equitable talent strategies can create material improvements in employee experience and the business’s bottom line. Tori Kendrick, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 So why is there so little material support for homemakers? Elliot Haspel, The Atlantic, 9 Feb. 2024 Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated in middle-of-the-night attack at his home Vincent pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support in the assassination, providing that support, and conspiring to kill or kidnap a person outside the United States. Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Bringing our dreams into material form is presently possible. Tarot.com, Baltimore Sun, 2 Feb. 2024 Invest in yourself: While treating yourself to new clothes or material things may be tempting, now is a good time to invest in your skill-set or education, which will provide ongoing returns. Rina Mehta, Kansas City Star, 24 Jan. 2024 He was also convicted at separate trials on March 9, 2020, for contempt of court and making material false statements and on September 13, 2023, on child pornography charges. Cara Tabachnick, CBS News, 1 Feb. 2024
Noun
Some is doled out in free compost giveaways for residents, while heaps of the material are stored in a fenced area of a local park. Amy Taxin, Quartz, 18 Feb. 2024 The material in this article comes almost entirely, except where noted with a link, from Bob Edwards, Edward R. Murrow and The Birth of Broadcast Journalism, (Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley, 2004). Bill Fischer, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 The cheeky fit is undeniably flattering on a wide range of body types, and sweat-wicking material is one of the highlights of these simple yet game-changing pants. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 18 Feb. 2024 Kesha did the same in February when she was joined by friends Kyle Richards and Morgan Wade to further tease new material by once again holding up a handmade sign. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 18 Feb. 2024 However, the administration did not and indeed cannot exempt American citizens from criminal statutes prohibiting material support for terrorism. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 17 Feb. 2024 Designing a better cart One way to enhance durability is by changing the material of the wheels from the typical polyurethane to pricier rubber. Eva Rothenberg, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 But, both wood and metal are long-lasting materials if properly maintained. Nor'adila Hepburn, Southern Living, 16 Feb. 2024 The material only faded slightly from sunlight exposure. Paige Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'material.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of material was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near material

Cite this Entry

“Material.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/material. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

material

1 of 2 adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio)
1
: relating to or consisting of matter : physical
the material world
material comforts
2
a
: important sense 1
food is material to health
b
: relevant
is that information material to the problem?
3
: physical rather than spiritual or intellectual
material needs
materiality
-ˌtir-ē-ˈal-ət-ē
noun
materially adverb

material

2 of 2 noun
1
: the elements or substance of which something is made or can be made
building materials
2
: equipment and supplies for doing or making something
writing materials

Legal Definition

material

1 of 2 adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or consisting of physical matter
2
: being of real importance or consequence
3
: being an essential component
the material terms of the contract
4
: being relevant to a subject under consideration
specifically : being such as would affect or be taken into consideration by a reasonable person in acting or making a decision see also insider trading
materiality noun
materially adverb

material

2 of 2 noun
: something used for or made the object of consideration or study
specifically : evidence see also brady material

More from Merriam-Webster on material

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