Definition of material in English:

material

noun

mass noun
  • 1The matter from which a thing is or can be made.

    ‘goats can eat more or less any plant material’
    count noun ‘highly flammable materials’
    • ‘Try to remove all large rocks, pebbles, and plant material from the soil.’
    • ‘At higher elevations on these mountains, the parent material is acid crystalline rock.’
    • ‘Any samples of hair, blood or other organic material removed from the cars will be matched up against a national database.’
    • ‘Many of the males and a few of the females wear stuff that looks like leather, but most is woven animal fur or plant material of kinds I do not know.’
    • ‘Efforts to extinguish the blaze were hampered by the large amount of flammable material inside the building.’
    • ‘A wine-like beverage can be made from almost any fruit, berry, or other plant material containing sugar.’
    • ‘The officer saw an open-backed truck at the site containing a large amount of asbestos cement roofing material.’
    • ‘Bacteria and insects break down organic material to produce soil and nutrients so plants can grow.’
    • ‘The relief material includes biscuits, water, candles, matchsticks and bread.’
    • ‘Gas cylinders contain flammable material - the fire extinguishers put out fires.’
    • ‘It is formed from decomposing underground deposits of organic matter such as decaying plant material.’
    • ‘For the first three harvests, plant material was bulked across three gullies to obtain sufficient plant material for mineral analyses.’
    • ‘Previous attempts to break down the plant into reusable material and fertiliser have been defeated because of its high moisture content.’
    • ‘Gone are the days when wood was the basic material used for boat building.’
    • ‘That is because mined diamonds are a carbon gem material and synthetic diamonds are polycrystalline.’
    • ‘A virus is a small packet of infectious nucleic acid material surrounded by a protein coat.’
    • ‘The fire spread so quickly, he said, because there was a lot of flammable material inside the building.’
    • ‘This sculpture was room size and not made of any fine material like marble or wood.’
    • ‘The sediment is cemented by material derived from pore waters and grain dissolution.’
    • ‘This region's ample sunlight breaks down the organic material in sewage into food for plankton.’
    matter, substance, stuff, medium
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    1. 1.1materials Things needed for an activity.
      ‘cleaning materials’
      • ‘This is the way we get the bulk of the tools and materials we need for projects on the house.’
      • ‘It is important therefore to know how to create effective teaching materials.’
      • ‘He said sugar, cement, timber and building material were some of the marketable goods in the neighboring countries.’
      • ‘He strikingly adapted the quality of painting technique and materials to different budgets.’
      • ‘The railway stations revert to older materials and greater personal care is evident.’
      • ‘Throwing money and materials and implements at the problem is not dealing with the problem.’
      • ‘There is no good scientific evidence that these materials are effective at all.’
      • ‘The managers made a point of ensuring that materials never touched the ground.’
      • ‘They have potentially fatal deficiencies in the areas of design, equipment and materials.’
      • ‘They cut into course tutor time and need costly equipment and materials to make them of value to the young people.’
      • ‘They sat together, looking on a little suspiciously as the tools and materials were gathered together.’
      • ‘Other icons lead to full construction details plus information about materials and tools.’
      • ‘You have to get all the staff, materials and equipment to the right place at the right time.’
      • ‘This will also include supplying materials and equipment required for all events.’
      • ‘Jefferson's choice of roofing material was the other matter to be considered.’
      • ‘So first of all get hold of the right materials and tools for the job in hand.’
      • ‘It created a flash flood effect and I was in the middle of rapids containing debris, wood and all matter of building material.’
      • ‘Many students are unable to get class materials, proper exam booklets or take part in labs.’
      • ‘Any money given to the project will be used toward the purchase of materials for the above activities.’
      • ‘Banana juice also can be used for making wine while the banana powder could be a basic starting material for making banana biscuits.’
      things, items, articles, stuff, necessaries
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    2. 1.2with adjective or noun modifier A person of a specified quality or suitability.
      ‘he's not really Olympic material’
      • ‘He is not teller material or bank material for that matter, but he sure makes me laugh.’
      things, items, articles, stuff, necessaries
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  • 2Information or ideas for use in creating a book or other work.

    ‘his colonial experiences gave him material’
    • ‘Part of their brief was to provide work for an exhibition in November and to provide material for a book published at the same time.’
    • ‘Singletons might use it as a dating agency, novelists as material for a book, market researchers as the easiest way to corner unsuspecting prey.’
    • ‘We found some of the most informative material for this review in grey literature.’
    • ‘I had been turning this around in my mind for some time, trying to think through just what would make my kids worthy material for a book.’
    • ‘Her spiky style and confident handling of the source material creates a book which is more of a literary event than a quiet read.’
    • ‘And the director made the most of the quality material that had finally landed in his lap.’
    • ‘According to an excitable tabloid, he viewed the murder as good material for a future book.’
    • ‘The source material was great books, and the host was a famous radio journalist.’
    • ‘She makes no attempt to disguise her material in order to create the illusion of a realistic scene.’
    • ‘I am continuing to gather material for the cat book and, in parallel, pulling poems together in one place.’
    • ‘But, after a considerable amount of said hanging about, he accumulated enough material to write a book.’
    • ‘He obviously hoped to repeat his success with another trip, but the second cruise was dogged by bad weather and did not provide enough material for a book.’
    • ‘We are currently researching material for a book.’
    • ‘There, in a nutshell, is the source material for countless books.’
    information, data, facts, facts and figures, statistics, evidence, subject matter, ideas, details, particulars
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    1. 2.1 Items, such as songs or jokes, comprising a performer's act.
      ‘a watchable band playing original material’
      • ‘The long-player will mix original material with traditional songs and is due out late next month.’
      • ‘The ensemble often draws its material from narrative folk songs.’
      • ‘Have you expanded your repertoire, and if so will your explorative work with your new kit inform your next material?’
      • ‘So why aren't more studios willing to take a risk with quality material?’
      • ‘No matter how good his material is, the audience wear him down with a mixture of catatonia and contempt.’
      • ‘The Keighley band will include original material in its set along with new chart covers.’
      • ‘How does she create her material, and what comes first, words or music?’
      • ‘More seriously, it seems that not a few musicians seek out less well-known foreign songs as material for their own albums.’
      • ‘His performance will feature both old material and songs from the new album.’
      • ‘The new material varies in quality, but it is nice to have on this disc.’
      • ‘The remaining films are in the main from writer-directors who create their own material.’
      • ‘It's a tough job to have to sit down and actively think about ways to be funny, and create material for a show.’
      • ‘The seven-piece outfit perform Tex-Mex classics, Spanish songs and original material.’
      • ‘They gave many performances of original arrangements from his operetta material.’
      • ‘The sound quality is almost always atrocious, but for obsessive fans hungry for material, this matters little.’
      • ‘There are originals in there too, and these are not overshadowed by the quality of the interpreted material.’
      • ‘They've got good delivery, and the show's writers create solid if unremarkable material.’
      • ‘He has recorded some excellent quality material over the years and is a great admirer of the songs of the late John Denver.’
      • ‘How could an entire album worth of quality material be left on the cutting floor?’
      • ‘Even considering just her four most recent albums, that's an awful lot of quality material to consider.’
  • 3Cloth or fabric.

    ‘a piece of dark material’
    count noun ‘dress materials’
    • ‘The water seeped through the thin material of her dress and made her shiver.’
    • ‘He pretended to dust an imaginary piece of lint from the dark material before returning his gaze to the other man.’
    • ‘He had a piece of dark material masking his face and was wearing a black, cotton casual jacket.’
    • ‘The clothes, as many of the designers put it, are produced from quality material with close attention to detail.’
    • ‘The year's supply of knitting is over, so now I plan to get some dress material decorated for some of the younger girls.’
    • ‘The material of the dress I wore was very unflattering; it bulged and fell flat in all the wrong places.’
    • ‘I think that that has come out in the way that you have worked with fabric and material and design.’
    • ‘The dress of fine material clung to her curvy figure as if it were part of her skin.’
    • ‘Insulation is a type of fabric or material in a lining that can protect from either outside heat or cold.’
    • ‘I've spent hours going around those fabric shops looking for material.’
    • ‘She picked out a plain dress of dark green material and a clean loin cloth.’
    • ‘The purple dress of velvet material had fitted her perfectly.’
    • ‘Multi-hued swathes of dress material and shirting are an added attraction.’
    • ‘I glanced at Matt in the dim light, noticing how he blended in with the shadows due to the dark material of his clothing.’
    • ‘This led him to the trade of a florist and later to creation of artificial flowers in satin, velvet, silk and other dress material.’
    • ‘He was dressed in black material that reflected some of his light and made him seem even whiter.’
    • ‘Heavy, tight weave fabrics will burn more slowly than loose weave, light fabrics of the same material.’
    • ‘I gasped when I saw the material; it was a sheer blue shimmery silk material that felt like water.’
    • ‘I wiped my right hand repeatedly on the dark gray material of the skirt.’
    • ‘Laminating this material to a carrier fabric (a fleece, for example) maximises this efficiency.’
    fabric, cloth, stuff, textiles
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adjective

  • 1attributive Denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit.

    ‘the material world’
    • ‘The show was put together rather hastily, in a bid to raise moral and material support for the artist who is ailing.’
    • ‘The problem is rather that his material circumstances are not in his control.’
    • ‘The modern measure of success is material reward rather than the satisfaction of a job well done.’
    • ‘Descartes believes in a more or less natural form of interaction between immaterial mind and material body.’
    • ‘All mentioned material things like a large salary, a nice house, an SUV, and so on.’
    • ‘In many cases, we look to the exterior values, being physical or of a material nature.’
    • ‘If one doesn't have a political conscience and if one has the material or physical means, it's easy to be egocentric.’
    • ‘Rather, it is crucial to connect individual states of mind to material circumstances.’
    • ‘It is a human invention or creation not of a physical or material kind but of a purely intellectual and ideational kind.’
    • ‘He is sadly pedaling a form of escapism that neglects the real material existence.’
    • ‘This partially explains the material dimension of his iconography, rooted in the physical world of nature around him.’
    • ‘The story charts a difference from matter as material to matter as meaning.’
    • ‘It would be far better if the discussion of economics took a more rigorous approach to the material world rather than indulging in amateur psychology.’
    • ‘It assumes that the virtual is a substitute for the material realm, rather than an adjunct to it.’
    • ‘These theories remind us that historical events are experienced by individuals in a material way on real bodies and minds.’
    • ‘When we turn the page of a book, we're aware of a new yet essentially stable material physical space.’
    • ‘In familiar, romantic fashion, this culture is associated with spiritual rather than with material values.’
    • ‘I am more interested in building relationships with people rather than receiving material items.’
    • ‘This conception of truth reflected more on the essence rather than the material manifestation of truth.’
    • ‘They are encouraged to have material goals which require substantial assets - again, so that they will be motivated sellers.’
    physical, corporeal, tangible, non-spiritual, mundane, worldly, earthly, temporal, concrete, real, solid, substantial, secular, lay
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    1. 1.1 Concerned with money or possessions rather than the needs of the mind or spirit.
      ‘material living standards have risen’
      • ‘This symbolises a need our soaring material culture cannot satisfy.’
      • ‘To achieve this, we will have to put an end to our single minded devotion to material pursuits.’
      • ‘You are generous and proud in family situations especially regarding material and property matters.’
      • ‘Bear in mind that most material invocations for wordly gains will almost inevitably carry some degree of bad luck.’
      • ‘By and large, human spiritual welfare is seen as far more important than material welfare right through this period.’
      • ‘Despite the billions he pocketed from running his hedge fund, he maintains greater interest in philosophy than matters material.’
      • ‘Long before Europeans arrived, it has been suggested, Australia was a prosperous land, with a high material standard of living.’
      • ‘Did he want to be with someone who only liked him for material and physical criteria?’
      sensual, carnal, materialistic, corporal, fleshly, physical, bodily
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    2. 1.2 Concerned with the matter of reasoning, not its form.
      ‘political conflict lacks mathematical or material certitude’
      • ‘Synthetic or material a priori truths are not reducible to formal truths.’
  • 2Significant; important.

    ‘the insects did not do any material damage to the crop’
    • ‘The practices are grounded in a material reality with actual, material consequences.’
    • ‘If there's no disputing about taste, there's also no disputing some of the material consequences of taste.’
    • ‘It is not an intensely material matter here, but it explains a lot that has happened.’
    • ‘If this is so, we may conclude that the material component in the definition of a species is intelligible matter.’
    • ‘We agreed with the firm that in failing to obtain a vet's report, he had breached an important and material condition of the policy.’
    • ‘Relationships ought thus to be preserved or restored and the concept of teamwork realised or saved from material damage.’
    • ‘A majority of their Lordships treated a material increase in the risk as equivalent to a material contribution to the damage.’
    • ‘Now, physical prowess is admittedly not a material qualification for public office.’
    • ‘But what is material damage to property, and why should locality be less important in this case?’
    • ‘But are there any material reasons why he shouldn't be permitted to take that trip and find out?’
    • ‘It will give auditors a better understanding of what is of material significance to the banks' regulator.’
    significant, major, important, of consequence, consequential, momentous
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    1. 2.1Law (of evidence or a fact) significant or relevant, especially to the extent of determining a cause or affecting a judgement.
      ‘information that could be material to a murder inquiry’
      • ‘One reason to hold material witnesses is that they are considered likely to flee the country.’
      • ‘In this case the following matters are particularly material.’
      • ‘It must be proved that the accused was suffering from an abnormality of mind at the material time.’
      • ‘The situation in the crisis alters almost by the hour but as at Wednesday morning I will try and give you an update of matters that are material.’
      • ‘The Defendants had a legitimate interest in drawing attention to matters which were material in one or other of these two statutory purposes.’
      relevant, applicable, pertinent, apposite, germane
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Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to matter’): from late Latin materialis, adjective from Latin materia ‘matter’.

Pronunciation

material

/məˈtɪərɪəl/