Definition of matador in English:



  • 1A bullfighter whose task is to kill the bull.

    • ‘At bullfights, the matador is given the ear of the bull as an award and then gives it to the lady of his choice.’
    • ‘Without a doubt, the characteristic trait of this matador from Seville is bullfighting using the cape.’
    • ‘During the three-hour spectacle, we watched three matadors kill six bulls.’
    • ‘Then the first of three banderilleros (usually older bullfighters who form part of the matador's team) individually run towards the bull making him charge.’
    • ‘The lead roles are played by the bull and the matador in the arena.’
    • ‘He is still only 18 and has already fought more than 200 bulls as a full matador.’
    • ‘When the matador realises the bull is weak and unable to charge much longer he will reach for his killing sword and seek to manoeuvre it directly in front of him with its head down, so that he can administer the death stroke.’
    • ‘He is a very powerful maestro and one of the best matadors placing banderillas today.’
    • ‘The common characteristic of the matadors in this group is that they interpret bullfighting in an unorthodox manner.’
    • ‘His only chance is to play his brutish opponent like a skilled matador plays a fearsome bull.’
    • ‘Almost as soon as our starter plates were whisked away, out came the next offering as fast as a matador fleeing an irate bull.’
    • ‘It's kind of like the bull going for a matador who has teased but hasn't put in the telling hits.’
    • ‘The final figure glared at him like a bull at its matador.’
    • ‘These detail the type of fight, the names of the matadors, the ranch from where the bulls are reared, and the date and time.’
    • ‘They then escort the matadors to the enclosure, followed by the picadors - matadors on horseback.’
    • ‘The fight itself will last some two hours, during which time the three matadors will dispatch two bulls each.’
    • ‘In an afternoon of bullfighting, six bulls are usually killed by three different matadors.’
    • ‘Meanwhile another cutthroat was charging towards him like a bull after a matador.’
    • ‘The run is a 825-metre stampede from the corral where the bulls are kept to the outdoor bullfighting arena where they will be invariably killed by matadors later in the day.’
    • ‘Instead you yield to him, just like the matador yields to the bull, and you use his strength and the principle of balance to bring about his downfall.’
  • 2(in ombre, skat, and other card games) any of the highest trumps.

    • ‘Note that for the purposes of matadors, cards in the skat count as part of declarer's hand, even though in a Hand game declarer does not know what is in the skat when choosing the game.’
    • ‘In game contracts, the obligation to follow suit does not apply fully to the matadors (the spadille, manille and basta).’
  • 3[mass noun] A domino game in which halves are matched so as to make a total of seven.

    • ‘These stones must be played according to the rules of matador; the game is then continued following the rules of ordinary dominoes.’
    1. 3.1[count noun] Any of the dominoes which have seven spots altogether, together with the double blank.
      • ‘These doubles or matadors are not placed crosswise.’
      • ‘After the four matadors have been placed the next stone added to each arm must be the appropriate double (matching according to matador rules).’


Spanish, literally killer, from matar to kill, from Persian māt dead; senses relating to games are extended uses, expressing a notion of ‘dominance’.