mat·ter | \ˈma-tər \

Definition of matter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a subject under consideration Several other matters will come before the committee.

b : a subject of disagreement or litigation The matter in dispute is basically trivial.

c matters plural : the events or circumstances of a particular situation planned to discuss matters with her husband soon

d : the subject or substance of a discourse or writing A graceful style was not enough to hide a paucity of matter.

e : something of an indicated kind or having to do with an indicated field or situation this is a serious matter as a matter of policy matters of faith

f : something to be proved in law

g obsolete : sensible or serious material as distinguished from nonsense or drollery

h(1) obsolete : reason, cause

(2) : a source especially of feeling or emotion

i : problem, difficulty What's the matter?

2a : the substance of which a physical object is composed

b : material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons, that constitutes the observable universe, and that is interconvertible with energy

c : a material substance of a particular kind or for a particular purpose vegetable matter

d(1) : material (such as feces or urine) discharged from the living body

(2) : material discharged by suppuration : pus

3a : the indeterminate subject of reality especially : the element in the universe that undergoes formation and alteration

b : the formless substratum of all things which exists only potentially and upon which form acts to produce realities

4 : a more or less definite amount or quantity cooks in a matter of minutes

5 : something written or printed matter suitable for photocomposition

6 : mail first-class matter

7 Christian Science : the illusion that the objects perceived by the physical senses have the reality of substance

as a matter of fact

: in fact : actually

for that matter

: so far as that is concerned

no matter

: without regard to : irrespective of points in the same direction no matter how it is tilted

no matter what

: regardless of the costs, consequences, or results wants to win, no matter what

the matter

: wrong nothing's the matter with me


mattered; mattering; matters

Definition of matter (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to form or discharge pus : suppurate mattering wound

2 : to be of importance : signify

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Synonyms & Antonyms for matter

Synonyms: Noun

case, challenge, knot, problem, trouble

Synonyms: Verb

count, import, mean, signify, weigh

Antonyms: Noun

answer, solution

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Examples of matter in a Sentence


He has a few personal matters to deal with. Disagreement is one thing, but accusations of lying are a different matter altogether! Can matter and energy be changed into each other?


It may not matter to you, but it matters a lot to me! “Why are you being so quiet?” “Does it matter?” “Of course it matters!”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gibran wrote about the matter-of-fact way in which people in Mexico refer to their lightest or darkest friends by skin color. Karen Berkowitz,, "Puerta Vallarta and Highland Park work to show value of people-to-people diplomacy," 13 July 2018 But county police files concerning the Sasser incidents should be considered closed cases — because everyone is dead — and, therefore, a matter of public record. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: Something stinks in Brunswick, and it ain’t paper mills," 11 July 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets regularly with dissidents during visits to China and had raised Liu Xia’s case with Chinese officials, including during a visit in May, people familiar with the matter said. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "Nobel widow allowed to leave China after long house arrest," 10 July 2018 Tara Miltimore, a spokeswoman for the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office, said the drowning appeared to be accidental, and the matter is under investigation. Adam Sennott,, "Man dies after being pulled from water in Bourne; latest in rash of drownings," 13 July 2018 Four days of flying can’t hope to settle the matter of which aircraft is better—but is enough time to construct an argument to justify preexisting beliefs. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Long Awaited A-10 vs.-F-35 Flyoff Is Off to a Sketchy Start," 11 July 2018 Then there’s the simple matter of people just acting weird. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 July 2018 Joachim Loew has not commented on the matter since deciding to stay on as coach. Ciaran Fahey, The Seattle Times, "Germany makes Mesut Ozil the scapegoat for World Cup exit," 10 July 2018 Twyla Blackmond Larnell, assistant professor of political science at Loyola University Chicago, says Green’s run should not be viewed solely as a matter of him winning or losing. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "Chicago Activist Rides Progressive Wave in Mayor's Race," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here, Packham answers questions about his discoveries, inventions and what matters most. Nicole Miller-coleman,, "Resonant transformer: Tanner Packham channels Tesla, sparks bright future," 24 June 2018 Results are what truly matters to football fans, and Manchester United fan's are not an exception to this rule., "Substance Over Style: Why 'Pretty' Football Won't Fix Manchester United's Problems," 11 June 2018 This would not matter if Ms. Saunders were a cliché maker. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "Review: At BalletX, a New Work Alive With Suspense and Surrealism," 13 July 2018 There's a reason the bad guys are burning down the building, but it's explained away in about 30 seconds toward the end and doesn't matter anyway. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Skyscraper:' Big, dumb and kind of fun, thanks to Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell," 12 July 2018 Yeah, those relationships do matter, particularly with President Trump. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 8, 2018," 8 July 2018 These don’t matter much now, but when the 10-race, 16-driver playoffs roll around in September, these midseason playoff points will hand drivers a solid boost against the competition. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "The absurd reason Kurt Busch left Sunday's race fuming at teammate Kevin Harvick," 3 July 2018 Now, after much waiting, Francis gives the world what really matters - a title and release date. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Dillon Francis Announces 'Wut Wut' Album, Shares 'Never Let You Go': Watch," 11 July 2018 But what matters most, to Agnelli, to the club, is that Ronaldo can deliver success in Europe. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Ronaldo Leaves Real Madrid to Join Juventus," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matter.' 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 matter


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for matter


Middle English matere, from Anglo-French, from Latin materia matter, physical substance, from mater


see matter entry 1

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Statistics for matter

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for matter

The first known use of matter was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for matter



English Language Learners Definition of matter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is being done, talked about, or thought about

matters : the situation or subject that is being discussed or dealt with

physics : the thing that forms physical objects and occupies space



English Language Learners Definition of matter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be important


mat·ter | \ˈma-tər \

Kids Definition of matter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something to be dealt with or considered We have a serious matter to discuss.

2 : problem sense 2, difficulty What's the matter?

3 : the substance things are made of : something that takes up space and has weight

4 : material substance of a certain kind or function coloring matter plant matter

5 : pus

6 : a small quantity or amount The difference is a matter of ten cents.

as a matter of fact

: actually Hello. As a matter of fact I just called you.

no matter

: without regard to no matter how much she swept, it never looked clean.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

no matter what

: regardless of the costs or consequences


mattered; mattering

Kids Definition of matter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be of importance Money does not matter to me.


mat·ter | \ˈmat-ər \

Medical Definition of matter 

1 : material (as feces or urine) discharged or for discharge from the living body an obstruction interfering with passage of matter from the intestine

2 : material discharged by suppuration : pus

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Legal Definition of matter 

1 : a subject of consideration, disagreement, or litigation: as

a : a legal case, dispute, or issue a matter within the court's jurisdiction often used in titles of legal proceedings matter of Doe — see also in re

b : one or more facts, claims, or rights examined, disputed, asserted, proven, or determined by legal process

matter in controversy

1 : matter sense 1

called also matter in dispute

2 : the monetary amount involved in a case

matter in issue

: a matter that is in dispute as part or all of a legal issue

matter of fact

: a matter primarily involving proof or evidence rather than a question of law

matter of form

: a matter concerning form or details often of a relatively inessential nature rather than substance a petition invalid because of a matter of form

matter of law

: a matter involving or consisting of the application of law entitled to judgment as a matter of lawNational Law Journal

matter of record

: a matter (as a fact) entered on the record of a court or other official body the security interest was a matter of record

matter of substance

: a matter concerning the merits of a case rather than form or relatively inessential details

2 : written, printed, or postal material obscene matter

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Comments on matter

What made you want to look up matter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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