matrix

noun
ma·​trix | \ ˈmā-triks How to pronounce matrix (audio) \
plural matrices\ ˈmā-​trə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce matrix (audio) , ˈma-​ \ or matrixes\ ˈmā-​trik-​səz How to pronounce matrix (audio) \

Definition of matrix

1 : something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form an atmosphere of understanding and friendliness that is the matrix of peace
2a : a mold from which a relief (see relief entry 1 sense 6) surface (such as a piece of type) is made
c : an engraved or inscribed die (see die entry 2 sense 3) or stamp
d : an electroformed impression of a phonograph record used for mass-producing duplicates of the original
3a : the natural material (such as soil or rock) in which something (such as a fossil or crystal) is embedded
b : material in which something is enclosed or embedded (as for protection or study)
4a : the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue) are embedded
b : the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops
5a : a rectangular array (see array entry 2 sense 5) of mathematical elements (such as the coefficients (see coefficient sense 1) of simultaneous (see simultaneous sense 2) linear equations) that can be combined to form sums and products with similar arrays having an appropriate number of rows and columns
b : something resembling a mathematical matrix especially in rectangular arrangement of elements into rows and columns
c : an array of circuit elements (such as diodes and transistors) for performing a specific function
6 : a main (see main entry 2 sense 5) clause that contains a subordinate (see subordinate entry 1) clause

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Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, a matrix was a female animal kept for breeding, or a plant (sometimes called a "parent plant" or "mother plant") whose seeds were used for producing other plants. In English the word has taken on many related meanings. Mathematicians use it for a rectangular organization of numbers or symbols that can be used to make various calculations; geologists use it for the soil or rock in which a fossil is discovered, like a baby in the womb. And matrix was a good choice as the name of the reality in which all humans find themselves living in a famous series of science-fiction films.

Examples of matrix in a Sentence

the complex social matrix in which people live their lives The wires all crossed each other and formed a matrix. a matrix used for making knives
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Recent Examples on the Web The particle filler, including ceramic, would be dispersed in a polymer matrix that covers the screen. Chris Smith, BGR, "Apple’s new invention could be a game-changer for the foldable iPhone," 6 Apr. 2021 These materials include advanced ceramic matrix composite parts and carbon titanium fan blades that are ultra strong while keeping weight down. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The World’s Largest Aircraft Engine Is Underway," 2 Apr. 2021 One of these is a medieval seal matrix; engraved with an image of an elephant carrying a castle on its back, the gold object would have been used to seal letters or documents. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Was This Ornament of a Knight Emerging From a Snail Shell a ‘Medieval Meme’?," 24 Mar. 2021 The difference between the TEAMS scale and the regular salary matrix is about $3,000 for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experienced but quickly increases to about $10,000 with just a few years experience. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Record education budget aims to improve teaching in math, science," 20 Mar. 2021 Cutting the matrix for a woodblock or linoleum print requires finesse, diligence and calculation. Washington Post, "In the galleries: Artists sport their chops with prints on the cutting edge," 19 Mar. 2021 To curb the spread of COVID-19, American theaters shut down on what would’ve been the production’s opening night and have remained dark for a year and counting — the ultimate glitch in the matrix. Los Angeles Times, "Taylor Iman Jones queued up ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Devil Wears Prada.’ Then, the pandemic," 12 Mar. 2021 After all, snow is mostly air — up to 90% air, trapped in a matrix of ice crystals. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Sick of all the snow this winter? There’s one big benefit: It’s great at protecting your garden.," 6 Mar. 2021 Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, uses that very term as part of a matrix comparing accessibility from president-to-president. Washington Post, "Opinion: When will Biden hold a press conference?," 4 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matrix.' 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 matrix

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for matrix

Latin, female animal used for breeding, parent plant, from matr-, mater

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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matrix.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrix. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for matrix

matrix

noun

English Language Learners Definition of matrix

technical
: something (such as a situation or a set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms
: something shaped like a pattern of lines and spaces
: a container that can be filled with a material (such as very hot metal) to give the material a new shape

matrix

noun
ma·​trix | \ ˈmā-triks How to pronounce matrix (audio) \
plural matrices\ ˈmā-​trə-​ˌsēz also ˈma-​ \ or matrixes

Medical Definition of matrix

1a : the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue) are embedded mineralization of bone matrix
b : the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops

called also nail bed, nail matrix

2 : something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops
3 : a mass by which something is enclosed or in which something is embedded membrane-bound organelles suspended in the cytoplasmic matrix chromatin fibers attach to the nuclear matrix
4a : a strip or band placed so as to serve as a retaining outer wall of a tooth in filling a cavity
b : a metal or porcelain pattern in which an inlay is cast or fused
5 : the substrate on or within which a fungus grows

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More from Merriam-Webster on matrix

Nglish: Translation of matrix for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of matrix for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about matrix

Comments on matrix

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