mat·​ter | \ ˈma-tər How to pronounce matter (audio) \

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 entry 1 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

Synonyms for matter

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of matter in a Sentence

Noun 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? Verb 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!”
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No longer was this a matter of a U.S. senator frolicking at a male bordello: The security of the nation was now at risk. James Kirchick, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 The difference between narcissism and self-love is a matter of depth. Olivia Muenter, Woman's Day, 14 June 2022 Despite the pushback, many grape farmers say that the use of autonomous tractors is only a matter of time. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 June 2022 This is a matter of a specific story, told and retold, for an audience presumed to have a toddler-like eagerness to hear the same story again, again. Molly Fischer, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 Being data-driven, however, is a matter of mindset. Ronen Korman, Forbes, 10 June 2022 Historically the regulation of companies in the United States has been a matter of state law. Jed S. Rakoff, The New York Review of Books, 8 June 2022 But the local level has often been another matter, and Tuesday provided the latest warning sign about the potency of this issue. Aaron Blake, Anchorage Daily News, 8 June 2022 Why crime rates lowered for related offenses in the pilot area could be attributable to two different factors: The first is a matter of recording, Dee said. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, 8 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Agency messages place vaccination and masking at the top of their list of preventive measure lists, but do little to differentiate the importance of these measures from those that matter far less, such as cleaning surfaces. Thoai D. Ngo, Scientific American, 15 June 2022 Experts said the committee’s decision ultimately may not matter much. Jacqueline Alemany And Devlin Barrett, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2022 So for all the gains made by Strus, from two-way player a year ago to reserve for most of this past regular season to playoff starter, what ultimately will matter most is backing it up going forward. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 12 June 2022 Stay Cool Just as your bedding, mattress, and pajamas matter, so too does the temperature in your bedroom. Outside Online, 6 June 2022 Climate and ocean conditions, which matter a lot for these fish, have tended to follow yearslong trends. ProPublica, 4 June 2022 Bio: Ricardo Salusse is here to show that size doesn't matter in this competition. Joey Nolfi,, 3 June 2022 This is a district that includes communities where local roots can matter, which helped push Hill to success in 2018. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2022 Although her game is still developing, Gauff boasts a terrific blend of skills that translate well to the tricky surface, where nimble footwork, timin, and patience matter more than power. Liz Clarke,, 2 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for matter

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

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Statistics for matter

Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Matter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for matter


mat·​ter | \ ˈma-tər How to pronounce matter (audio) \

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 His money doesn't matter to me.


mat·​ter | \ ˈmat-ər How to pronounce matter (audio) \

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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on matter

Nglish: Translation of matter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of matter for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about matter


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