material

adjective
ma·​te·​ri·​al | \mə-ˈtir-ē-əl \

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

c : matter sense 3b

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

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Other Words from material

Adjective

materially \ -​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb
materialness noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Represented by the crab, this oceanic crustacean seamlessly weaves between the sea and shore, representing Cancer’s ability to exist in both emotional and material realms. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Each Zodiac Sign's Unique Personality Traits, Explained by an Astrologer," 28 Oct. 2018 CI Tau is so young that the material around it hasn’t finished forming into planets; instead, that material forms a disk of dust and gas around the star called a protoplanetary disk. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Discover Four Giant Planets Orbiting Newborn Star," 16 Oct. 2018 When a judge ordered the release of a material witness in the case, Larson, 38, was released too. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Inmate’s accidental release — the third in three months — prompts King County to review jail policies," 9 Oct. 2018 Any material omission or withholding of information from the FISA court violated that court's rule and the constitutional rights are the subject of it. Fox News, "Graham: Democrats are trying to destroy Kavanaugh's life," 17 Sep. 2018 The new report, which reviewed six years of admissions data, found that being Asian-American had no material effect on gaining a seat at Harvard, according to court filing. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Harvard report found Asian-Americans faced admissions penalty," 15 June 2018 Responding to the motion for the deposition, the defense argued that Fouts' testimony is neither relevant nor material to Howlett's allegations. Bryce Airgood, Detroit Free Press, "Judge rules Warren mayor Fouts can be questioned regarding racial issues," 12 June 2018 Experiences are more valuable than material things. Robert Cocuzzo, Town & Country, "30 Lessons I've Learned, In Honor of My 30th Birthday," 22 May 2016 Still, analysts say the closure wouldn’t represent a material step toward full denuclearization. Washington Post, "SKorean military says NKorea preparing nuke site closure," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Prices have fallen 18% from their June four-year peaks, hurt by anxiety that a slowing Chinese economy will crimp demand for materials widely used in manufacturing and construction. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Copper Extends Slide as Commodities Rout Deepens," 9 Nov. 2018 And at the mass level, retailers like Target and J.Crew now cast non-sample-size models in marketing materials as a matter of course. Hilary George-parkin, Glamour, "What's Holding Victoria's Secret Back From Body Diversity on the Runway?," 9 Nov. 2018 These Habitat for Humanity stores sell new and gently used furniture, decor, appliances, and building materials to the public at a discount. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Where to donate furniture and household items," 8 Nov. 2018 Veja's Esplar sneakers are significant as they're made from sustainable materials. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Just Wore Sustainable Sneakers, and I'm Surprised They're Still in Stock TBH," 21 Oct. 2018 Respect for craftsmanship, tradition, and prime materials is matched by a conspicuous disregard for the ephemera of trends, both on the part of father and son, and the artisans who have joined their studio over the years. Maria Shollenbarger, ELLE Decor, "An Italian Design Firm Transforms Discreet-but-Luxe Kitchens with a Timeless Florentine Aesthetic," 18 Oct. 2018 Wood-case eye pencils are the most sustainable eyeliners since they’re made with renewable material and get sharpened down to nothing. Meirav Devash, Allure, "I Tried a Sustainable Beauty Routine for a Month to See How Easy It Is to Go Green," 15 Oct. 2018 Made with refractory material like that found in faux fireplace logs, the spooky stoneware skulls are fireproof and lightweight. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "These $30 Skull Logs Will Make Your Fireplace Extra Eerie for Halloween," 10 Oct. 2018 The Headphones cups are made of an unspecified faux-leathery material, and felt comfortable if not a bit snug. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hands-on with Microsoft's Surface Headphones: tune out the outside world to focus," 3 Oct. 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.

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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

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

Noun

see material entry 1

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Statistics for material

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for material

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

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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

: 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 \

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 \

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 \ 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

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Comments on material

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