matrix

noun
ma·trix | \ ˈmā-triks \
plural matrices\ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz, ˈma- \ or matrixes\ˈmā-trik-səz \

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

b : die sense 3a(1)

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

Members of the Thai navy SEALs and foreign divers squeezed through miles of tunnels, risking their lives to find and carry the young players through an underwater matrix that daunted the British specialists brought in to help. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 The bags, made from nylon-fiber matrix out of a factory in Massachusetts, cover all fronts; from the all-day tote to the stylish crossbody, to the of-the-moment bucket bag, and are $55 to $325. Flora Tsapovsky, San Francisco Chronicle, "Style Radar: Filbert’s vegan leather pouches," 23 Apr. 2018 Not only that, but the mineral matrix of Hypatia also contains a significant amount of interstellar dust not generally seen in the rocky stuff of the solar system. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Incredible 'Hypatia' Stone Contains Compounds Not Found in the Solar System," 10 Jan. 2018 Then, Brava's staff of seven chefs looked at those toast pics—uncooked bread, cooked toast, burned toast—and helped put together a kind of matrix for what an ideal piece of toast looks like. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Brava Hopes to Heat Up the 'Smart Kitchen' With a $995 Oven," 10 July 2018 The lives and 50-year love affair of feminist educators Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks provide the matrix for Bryna Turner’s comedy, set during the battle for women’s suffrage in the United States. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "Summer theater 2018: Our top 25 shows to see," 23 May 2018 But viewing the autism spectrum as a matrix of possible traits evokes all the problems of mental health diagnosis, because, to put it simply, everyone has traits. Alice Bolin, Longreads, "The Daughter as Detective," 26 June 2018 The preserve is a connected matrix of former ranches purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust and then provided to Midpen to be operated as a preserve, open to the public. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Chronicle hike yields La Honda’s coastal hill treasures," 14 June 2018 Second, given the cars’ overlapping cost-attribute matrices, know that the choice is almost entirely inflected by marketing, your perceptions of these two charismatic brands. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 BMW X2: Like a Mini Cooper, but Better," 21 June 2018

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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Statistics for matrix

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for matrix

The first known use of matrix was in 1555

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More Definitions for matrix

matrix

noun

English Language Learners Definition of matrix

: 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 \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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