noun ma·trix \ˈmā-triks\

Definition of matrix



play \ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz, ˈma-\ or


play \ˈmā-trik-səz\
  1. 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

  2. 2a :  a mold from which a relief (see 1relief 6) surface (as a piece of type) is madeb :  die 3a(1)c :  an engraved or inscribed die (see 2die 3) or stampd :  an electroformed impression of a phonograph record used for mass-producing duplicates of the original

  3. 3a :  the natural material (as soil or rock) in which something (as a fossil or crystal) is embeddedb :  material in which something is enclosed or embedded (as for protection or study)

  4. 4a :  the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue ) are embeddedb :  the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops

  5. 5a :  a rectangular array (see 2array 5) of mathematical elements (as the coefficients (see coefficient 1) of simultaneous (see simultaneous 2) linear equations ) that can be combined to form sums and products with similar arrays having an appropriate number of rows and columnsb :  something resembling a mathematical matrix especially in rectangular arrangement of elements into rows and columnsc :  an array of circuit elements (as diodes and transistors ) for performing a specific function

  6. 6 :  a main (see 2main 5) clause that contains a subordinate (see 1subordinate) clause

Examples of matrix in a sentence

  1. the complex social matrix in which people live their lives

  2. The wires all crossed each other and formed a matrix.

  3. a matrix used for making knives

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.

Origin and Etymology of matrix

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

First Known Use: 1555

Other Mineralogy Terms

MATRIX Defined for English Language Learners


noun ma·trix \ˈmā-triks\

Definition of matrix for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Medical Dictionary


noun ma·trix \ˈmā-triks\

Medical Definition of matrix



\ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz also ˈma-\play or


  1. 1a:  the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue) are embedded mineralization of bone matrixb:  the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops—called also nail bed, nail matrix

  2. 2:  something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops

  3. 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

  4. 4a:  a strip or band placed so as to serve as a retaining outer wall of a tooth in filling a cavityb:  a metal or porcelain pattern in which an inlay is cast or fused

  5. 5:  the substrate on or within which a fungus grows

Seen and Heard

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to criticize severely

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