material

adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al | \ mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio) \

Definition of material

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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
3a : 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

material

noun

Definition of material (Entry 2 of 2)

1a(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
2a : apparatus necessary for doing or making something writing materials
b : matériel

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from material

Adjective

materially \ mə-​ˈtir-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce materially (audio) \ adverb
materialness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for material

Synonyms: Adjective

concrete, physical, substantial

Synonyms: Noun

making, raw material, stuff, substance, timber

Antonyms: Adjective

immaterial, nonmaterial, nonphysical

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for material

Adjective

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The idea behind this project was really shaped by the material qualities of the Rimowa aluminum plates, plus the fact that the exhibition site, Spazio Maiocchi, was previously a garage. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Rimowa Kicks Off Milan Design Week with a Stunning Aluminum Car Sculpture," 9 Apr. 2019 There's no shortage of material possessions that spark joy for me: sweatpants that qualify as daywear, croissants of every variety, and $435 LED face masks that double as Instagram props. Glamour, "This Moisturizer Instantly Gives Me Dewy Dumpling Skin," 11 Mar. 2019 Beyond material type, choose from a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Tile Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 31 Jan. 2019 Porc-Epic, Ethiopia: The largest collection of ochre pieces ever found, weighing nearly 90 pounds in total, includes a variety of tools to process and use the material 40,000 years ago. 6. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Pigment of Our Imagination," 23 Mar. 2018 Of course, for corporate titans who crave unforgettable sensory encounters with the material world, money is not really a concern. Horacio Silva, Town & Country, "The Experience Wars: Inside the Furious Fight for the Affections (and Dollars) of the World's Biggest Spenders," 20 Sep. 2018 Eventually, Ayalla hopes to start his own label, though his dreams go further than the material world. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Israeli-Ethiopian Instagram Heartthrob Andebet Ayalla Is Breaking Local Modeling Boundaries," 5 Sep. 2018 The message was not clear but there was a suggestion of a disregard for the material world. Washington Post, "Armani rejects overdone emotion, Ferragamo favors color," 24 Feb. 2018 Amazon said NDAs are a standard practice to protect material information that might be shared with other parties during site selection. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "After Amazon HQ2, Some Lawmakers Question Nondisclosure Requirements," 26 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After years of working with all types of textiles and fibers, Crutchfield has recently added a new material to her arsenal: flowers. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "This Artist Makes Gorgeous Weavings Using Wildflowers—and You Can, too," 17 Apr. 2019 As Gibney’s doc shows, there was so much testing material that needed to be contained in a box only a few feet wide, called the Edison, that there was almost no way to make sure the samples were correctly tested without contamination. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Elizabeth Holmes Is a Tragic Figure," 18 Mar. 2019 Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that's found in rock and soil, SELF explained previously, and most of us are exposed to small amounts of it at some point in our lives. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "FDA Testing Finds Asbestos in 3 Claire's Products," 6 Mar. 2019 Types of Tile Countertops There are many different materials on the market, but the pros recommend natural stone and porcelain for bathroom and kitchen countertops. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Tile Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 31 Jan. 2019 Eventually, the group manages to kill the queen, and for their efforts, they are awarded a variety of goodies, including Ultracite items, which are currently the best material in the game. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fallout 76’s first end-game nuke launches, starts apocalyptic battle," 15 Nov. 2018 Steps are taken towards fulfilling a sustainable, trusting relationship as topics like material stability are addressed. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What May’s Libra Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 Apr. 2019 This, theoretically, saves money in boring, debris removal, and tunnel lining materials. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Ars takes a first tour of the length of The Boring Company’s test tunnel," 19 Dec. 2018 Mysteriously a clear case that appeared in press materials in some regions prior to the phone’s release is yet to materialise, although there are now plenty of third-party alternatives to choose from. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Apple cases for the iPhone XS increases to twelve, iPhone XR still zero," 30 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'material.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of material

Adjective

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for material

Adjective and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about material

Statistics for material

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for material

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for material

material

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of material

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to or made of matter
: physical rather than spiritual or intellectual
formal : having real importance

material

noun

English Language Learners Definition of material (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

material

adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al | \ mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio) \

Kids Definition of material

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or made of matter : physical the material world
2 : of or relating to a person's bodily needs or wants Money buys material comforts.
3 : having real importance Those facts aren't material to the case.

Other Words from material

materially adverb

material

noun

Kids Definition of material (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the elements, substance, or parts of which something is made or can be made We purchased bricks and other building material.
2 : equipment needed for doing something writing materials

material

adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al | \ mə-ˈtir-ē-əl How to pronounce material (audio) \

Legal Definition of material

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from material

materiality \ mə-​ˌtir-​ē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce materiality (audio) \ noun
materially adverb

material

noun

Legal Definition of material (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on material

What made you want to look up material? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!