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

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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!”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An attorney for Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, the legal firm for Mayfair mall in this matter, did not respond to a reporter's email about the lawsuit on Tuesday. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 July 2021 Studies have shown that following this diet can reduce blood pressure in a matter of weeks. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 21 July 2021 Social media videos and photos caught the ferocity of the rushing waters, which one witness said turned a local river into a torrent in a matter of seconds. CBS News, 21 July 2021 Mildred Vega, 56, had even less choice in the matter. Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 Father Joe Carroll might not get his final wish, if the hundreds of people attending his funeral mass Tuesday in San Diego have any say in the matter. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 July 2021 Buses replacing the two 2021 Ford F-550 Champion Low-Floor models the city sold to Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort weren't expected to arrive until next year, but the city said the replacements could be on the road in a matter of weeks. David Showers, Arkansas Online, 19 July 2021 In a matter of minutes, as players and family members huddled in the hallway leading to the clubhouse, the visitors’ dugout was full of dozens of fans. Kevin Acee, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2021 Casey Clark, senior vice president of communications at the American Gaming Association, said the pandemic placed a significant strain on casinos across the country last year, with 989 shut down in a matter of weeks. Alexandra Skores, Dallas News, 16 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As a result, she's been able to allocate more of her energy to the other things that matter to her like fashion, activism, and reconnecting with her roots. Ineye Komonibo,, 20 July 2021 But the focus on economics makes Chapter 11 a place where every social value—including morality, justice, and accountability—gets reduced to the only terms that matter in corporate bankruptcy: the terms of the deal. Libby Lewis, The New Republic, 28 June 2021 That crime in the city over all was still at historic lows didn’t matter. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 23 June 2021 Two big factors that will matter are quality control and a country's public health infrastructure. Melissa Mahtani, CNN, 3 June 2021 Here are the numbers that matter most from the rather stunning 2-0 lead Dallas has grabbed in the playoffs. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 26 May 2021 Beyond past success, the size of the schools will matter. Kennington Lloyd Smith Iii, USA TODAY, 3 July 2021 For many fans, this probably will not matter in the slightest. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 2 July 2021 Still, in a tight race, those undecideds will matter., 1 July 2021

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

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

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near matter




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Statistics for matter

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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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
: 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 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

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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

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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