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 As a matter of fact, thousands of BGR Deals readers swarmed Amazon to get their hands on this brilliant device. Maren Estrada, BGR, "This $40 Amazon find gives you four power outlets without needing any extra space," 15 Apr. 2021 As a matter of routine, COPA refers its police shooting investigations to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for a review of whether criminal charges could be warranted. Annie Sweeney,, "Video of fatal Chicago police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo is released to the public," 15 Apr. 2021 As a matter of the vaccine being available to athletes and delegation members, Hirshland added, the USOPC is optimistic that anyone who wanted one could obtain it prior to traveling for the Olympics. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "'I'm definitely going to get that': Vaccines not required, most USOPC athletes still eager for shots," 14 Apr. 2021 Massachusetts’ child welfare agency, which is now known as the Department of Children and Families, does not as a matter of policy discuss the outcome of its investigations., "State child welfare agency also investigated Patrick Rose decades ago. It too believed the union chief had abused a child," 13 Apr. 2021 Maine is among a handful of states to have an item of food as its symbol—not through legislative action, the way calamari was designated the appetizer of Rhode Island in 2014, but as a matter of collective fancy. Kevin West, Travel + Leisure, "Experience True Farm-to-Table Living on a Culinary Road Trip Through Coastal Maine," 12 Apr. 2021 Israel, as a matter of policy, neither confirms nor denies such actions. New York Times, "Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage," 11 Apr. 2021 Making sure that women and people of color can enter burgeoning green industries means spreading out work that for decades in the United States has been, as a matter of policy, considered a domestic responsibility. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Care Work Is Climate Work," 9 Apr. 2021 The court ruled that the fair use defense can be determined by courts as a matter of law, which means that judges, not juries, will make these determinations. Schuyler Moore, Forbes, "Should Hollywood Be Afraid Of Fair Use After Google V. Oracle?," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The big question is whether Robinhood's legal and PR troubles will matter to investors compared with the startup's breathtaking growth. Matt Egan, CNN, "Massachusetts wants to pull the plug on Robinhood," 15 Apr. 2021 No amount of strategic alignment or synergies will matter if organizational cultures do not align. Brady Bloxham, Forbes, "The Secret To A Successful Cyber Security Acquisition: Culture," 7 Apr. 2021 If the funding survives in any bill Mr. Biden might sign into law, those details will matter, said Deborah Archer, a director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at New York University School of Law. New York Times, "Biden Seeks to Use Infrastructure Plan to Address Racial Inequities," 1 Apr. 2021 The coming years should see even more balance among the genders, so much so, that soon, the topic won’t matter anymore. Carey Sweet, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sponsored: 'Sea change' as more women take center stage as wine judges," 31 Mar. 2021 Gray said that taking a stand on local issues in coastal Alabama will not matter, such as staking positions on infrastructure projects like the Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project. al, "Can Mo Brooks reverse past poor performances in South Alabama?," 25 Mar. 2021 But major vaccine providers in San Antonio said broadening eligibility will not matter much if the supply of vaccine continues to fall short of demand. Cayla Harris, Raga Justin, San Antonio Express-News, "All Texas adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday," 24 Mar. 2021 But none of that will matter much unless the Brewers get more punch from their lineup. Steve Megargee, Star Tribune, "Brewers will need hitting resurgence to return to playoffs," 17 Mar. 2021 But remember: While wireless is convenient, all the resolution in the world won’t matter if your WiFi is subpar. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best home security cameras: Our picks to help keep you (and your stuff) safe," 16 Mar. 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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Statistics for matter

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Matter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 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 Money does not 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

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