mat

1 of 6

noun (1)

1
a(1)
: a piece of coarse, woven, plaited, or felted fabric used especially as a floor covering or a support
(2)
: a piece of material placed at a door for wiping soiled shoe soles
b
: a decorative piece of material used under a small item (such as a dish) especially for support or protection
c
: a large thick pad or cushion used as a surface for wrestling, tumbling, and gymnastics
2
: something made up of densely tangled or adhering filaments or strands especially of organic matter
an algal mat
a mat of unkempt hair
3
: a large slab usually of reinforced concrete used as the supporting base of a building

mat

2 of 6

verb (1)

matted; matting

transitive verb

1
: to provide with a mat or matting
2
a
: to form into a tangled mass
dirt and filth matted her hair
b
: to pack down so as to form a dense mass

intransitive verb

: to become matted

mat

3 of 6

verb (2)

matted; matting

transitive verb

1
or less commonly matte or matt : to make (something, such as a metal, glass, or color) matte
2
: to provide (a picture) with a mat

mat

4 of 6

adjective

less common spelling of matte entry 2

: lacking or deprived of luster (see luster entry 1 sense 1) or gloss: such as
a
: having a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights
matte metals
a matte finish
b
: having a rough or granular (see granular sense 1) surface

mat

5 of 6

noun (2)

: a border going around a picture between picture and frame or serving as the frame

mat

6 of 6

noun (3)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Most appeared to have fled with little more than a few cooking supplies, sheets and mats and, in some cases, a donkey. Elian Peltier Yagazie Emezi, New York Times, 16 May 2023 For instance, Access Trax mats were used at two beaches in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Natallie Rocha, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2023 Retreats include all meals, seven nights of accommodations, two daily yoga classes, and yoga mats and props. Maria Eilersen, Travel + Leisure, 12 May 2023 The marque’s bespoke team did their best to recreate the shade inside the vehicle, where every surface that isn’t covered in glossy wood trim—such as the dashboard, door panels and floor mats—is covered in the rich color. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 12 May 2023 Inside, a boy pushes a lemon-yellow toy truck past rows of sleeping mats across the wooden floor. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 May 2023 The Ultimate Car Cleaner, an unscented pick that claims to be gentle enough to use on seats, dashboards, mats and more inside your car, is also tough enough to clean up dirt and grime that can collect on the outside windows and tires. Annie O’sullivan, goodhousekeeping.com, 11 May 2023 Buy Now Eastbrook Corner-Mount Frameless Mirror $93 3 The Coordinated Frame In this masculine bathroom, the mirror frame, navy countertop, and artwork mat add subtle color. Kate Mcgregor, House Beautiful, 10 May 2023 To outsiders, the breathing and mats make yoga and Pilates appear similar, though there are significant differences between the activities. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 8 May 2023
Verb
Grass clippings and leaves can easily mat and compact, reducing oxygen in the bin and suffocating the worms. Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 The leaves will pile up and mat down and result in endless bare, dead patches. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 20 Nov. 2021 But, the mixture of grass clippings and tree leaves may mat together to keep water from reaching the roots of the plants. Tom Maccubbin, orlandosentinel.com, 1 May 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English meatte, from Late Latin matta, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew miṭṭāh bed

Noun (2)

French mat dull color, unpolished surface, from mat, adjective — more at matte

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb (1)

1549, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1845, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mat was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near mat

Cite this Entry

“Mat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mat. Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

mat

1 of 5 noun
1
a
: a piece of coarse fabric of rush, straw, or wool
b
: a piece of material in front of a door to wipe dirty shoe soles on
c
: a decorative piece of material used under a dish or vase
d
: a pad or cushion for gymnastics or wrestling
2
: something made up of many tangled strands
a thick mat of vegetation

mat

2 of 5 verb
matted; matting
1
: to provide with a mat or matting
2
: to become or cause to become a tangled mass

mat

3 of 5 verb
matted; matting
1
also matte or matt : to give a dull effect to
2
: to border (a picture) with a mat

mat

4 of 5

variant of matte entry 2

mat

5 of 5 noun
1
: a border of stiff paper (as cardboard) going around a picture between picture and frame or serving as the frame
2
: a dull finish
Etymology

Noun

Old English meatte "mat," from Latin matta (same meaning); of Semitic origin

Medical Definition

mat

1 of 2 adjective
variants or matt or matte
1
: lacking or deprived of luster or gloss : having a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights
2
: having a coarse rough rugose or granular surface
bacteria that form mat colonies on agar

mat

2 of 2 noun
: a mat colony of bacteria

More from Merriam-Webster on mat

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