# matrix

## noun

ma·​trix
plural matrices ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz
ˈma-
or matrixes
1
: something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form
an atmosphere of understanding and friendliness that is the matrix of peace
2
a
: a mold from which a relief (see relief entry 1 sense 6) surface (such as a piece of type) is made
c
: an engraved or inscribed die (see die entry 2 sense 3) or stamp
d
: an electroformed impression of a phonograph record used for mass-producing duplicates of the original
3
a
: the natural material (such as soil or rock) in which something (such as a fossil or crystal) is embedded
b
: material in which something is enclosed or embedded (as for protection or study)
4
a
: the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue) are embedded
b
: the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops
5
a
: a rectangular array (see array entry 2 sense 5) of mathematical elements (such as the coefficients (see coefficient sense 1) of simultaneous (see simultaneous sense 2) linear equations) that can be combined to form sums and products with similar arrays having an appropriate number of rows and columns
b
: something resembling a mathematical matrix especially in rectangular arrangement of elements into rows and columns
c
: an array of circuit elements (such as diodes and transistors) for performing a specific function
6
: a main (see main entry 2 sense 5) clause that contains a subordinate (see subordinate entry 1) clause

## Did you know?

In ancient Rome, a matrix was a female animal kept for breeding, or a plant (sometimes called a "parent plant" or "mother plant") whose seeds were used for producing other plants. In English the word has taken on many related meanings. Mathematicians use it for a rectangular organization of numbers or symbols that can be used to make various calculations; geologists use it for the soil or rock in which a fossil is discovered, like a baby in the womb. And matrix was a good choice as the name of the reality in which all humans find themselves living in a famous series of science-fiction films.

## Example Sentences

the complex social matrix in which people live their lives The wires all crossed each other and formed a matrix. a matrix used for making knives
Recent Examples on the Web There was a little bit of, like, a glitch in the matrix after the pandemic or something, like the thing appeared to be seamless and then wasn’t. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2022 It was humpbacked, and the size of a border collie, but with details obscured by the limestone matrix, as if painted over with cake batter. Richard Conniff, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Aug. 2022 Though the 2020 positive was Cox’s second class C violation in a 365-day span, state stewards gave him a \$500 fine instead of the 10-30 day suspension consistent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s penalty matrix. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 17 May 2022 Nearly everything warranted a double take, and some looks were even sent down the runway twice, in slightly different colors, as a way to further play into the glitch-in-the-matrix concept. Tara Gonzalez, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 Oct. 2022 Cherry mocha matrix of aromas that also include blackberries, peat, wild bramble and dark licorice. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 3 July 2022 Whether Audi will design its own platform or use a Porsche matrix is still unclear, but if Ingolstadt can have things its way, Lamborghini and Bentley are likely to get bespoke spinoffs. Georg Kacher, Car and Driver, 3 Oct. 2022 In Arkansas, the Legislature funds public schools through a spending matrix that allocates funding to school districts. Neal Earley, Arkansas Online, 2 Oct. 2022 Soon after, a company called Project December released a version of just such a personality matrix. Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'matrix.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

## Word History

Etymology

Latin, female animal used for breeding, parent plant, from matr-, mater

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of matrix was in 1555

matrix

## Cite this Entry

“Matrix.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrix. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

matrix

## noun

ma·​trix
plural matrices ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz
ˈma-
or matrixes
: something (as a mold) that gives form, foundation, or origin to something else enclosed in it

matrix

## noun

ma·​trix
plural matrices
ˈmā-trə-ˌsēz also ˈma-
or matrixes
1
a
: the extracellular substance in which tissue cells (as of connective tissue) are embedded
mineralization of bone matrix
b
: the thickened epithelium at the base of a fingernail or toenail from which new nail substance develops

called also nail bed, nail matrix

2
: something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops
3
: a mass by which something is enclosed or in which something is embedded
membrane-bound organelles suspended in the cytoplasmic matrix
chromatin fibers attach to the nuclear matrix
4
a
: a strip or band placed so as to serve as a retaining outer wall of a tooth in filling a cavity
b
: a metal or porcelain pattern in which an inlay is cast or fused
5
: the substrate on or within which a fungus grows

## More from Merriam-Webster on matrix

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

#### Words Named After People

• Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Words at Play