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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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 delta, of course, is filled with a matrix of rivers, sloughs, cuts and coves. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 May 2021 Previous organoid attempts have failed to capture how human bone cells form in parallel with this matrix and interact with it. Anna Goshua, Scientific American, 10 May 2021 Their mass overpowers all attempts to fix the artist’s own position within some neocolonial matrix. Jason Farago, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2021 Some claimed that their artists didn’t deserve the money within the larger matrix of need, while others thought that Discwoman was attempting to spin a time of acute collective suffering into some sort of cash grab. Rachel Hahn, Rolling Stone, 9 Mar. 2021 But to help track its progress, the Tax Policy Center has created a comprehensive matrix that compares Biden’s campaign plans with his presidential proposals to date. Howard Gleckman, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Chiefs or sheriffs would still levy punishment, but would be required to follow a matrix of minimum punishments for different types of violations or misconduct. Bryn Stole, baltimoresun.com, 9 Apr. 2021 Those factors form a matrix that can ignite or stifle blooms. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2021 Winkels said any discipline issued by a civilian board would still have to adhere to a discipline matrix or guide each city adopts. oregonlive, 12 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

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matrix.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrix. Accessed 19 Jun. 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

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

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