matrix

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

While most smartphones use a type of liquid crystal display, or LCD, a folding device will likely use a more flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, display, industry analysts said. Dan Strumpf, WSJ, "Smartphone Makers Seek Foldable Phones With Flex Appeal," 31 Oct. 2018 There’s even no longer a luggage price matrix to reference on Spirit’s website because there are too many variables on an individual’s flight itinerary that must be calculated. Kristen Leigh Painter, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Air Travel Will Change in 2019," 13 Dec. 2018 The matrix itself is one of many feats of engineering FedEx has incorporated to keep up with the increasing volume of overnight shipping. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Inside FedEx’s Christmas Miracle," 19 Dec. 2018 But all of them benefit from it, which is why the DUSN matrix can so effectively describe American politicians in particular. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Toward a taxonomy of men online," 14 Aug. 2018 They're composed of a white quartzite matrix with sharply contrasting red and brown jasper pebbles. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Where to find 5 of Michigan's coolest rocks," 28 June 2018 How to Book: Go to Norwegian's sale site to use the fare matrix to match dates that work for you with the lowest fares. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "12 Days of Deals: U.S. to Paris, Amsterdam from $120," 17 Dec. 2018 Solid-fuel rockets, as their name suggests, use a combined oxidizer and fuel in a solid matrix. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 The emotional core of the episode, meanwhile, became clear in Spacek’s insistence that Ruth’s story not be presented in a strictly black and white matrix. Karen Han, Vox, "Castle Rock showrunner Sam Shaw explains the series’ best episode yet," 26 Aug. 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

9 May 2019

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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

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

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

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