Definition of matter in English:

matter

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy:

    ‘the structure and properties of matter’
    • ‘This is the amount of heat energy necessary to change the phase or state of matter from liquid to gas.’
    • ‘Their properties are determined locally by the changing patterns of matter and energy residing within them.’
    • ‘Thus dark energy is intrinsically relativistic and is more like energy than matter.’
    • ‘When ionizing radiations pass through matter, energy is deposited in the material concerned.’
    • ‘With their knowledge, the spaceships could become mass, matter, energy or any form of radiation.’
    • ‘Inflation involves a curious change in the properties of matter at very high energies known as a phase transition.’
    • ‘Einstein described what we call gravity as curves in space and time, created by matter and energy.’
    • ‘As a result, the energy exchange between matter and radiation becomes less efficient.’
    • ‘The electromagnetic spectrum describes all matter as wave frequencies.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if the anti-matter and matter particles annihilating each other produces some kind of energy.’
    • ‘Physics is the science which deals with properties and interactions of matter and energy.’
    • ‘Right now the dominant forms of energy in our Universe are matter and vacuum energy.’
    • ‘Why is the universe made of matter and not equal parts of matter and antimatter?’
    • ‘They're a bit like caps on a shaken soda bottle, and upwelling matter and energy can blow at any moment.’
    • ‘The metaphor my old physics professor liked was that matter is energy tied into knots.’
    • ‘In general, the distinction between matter and antimatter is somewhat arbitrary.’
    • ‘Where do space, matter, energy, and the forces of nature come from?’
    • ‘For one thing, how can empty space explode without there being matter or energy?’
    • ‘For the physicist, time and space, along with matter, form part of the equipment that the universe comes with.’
    • ‘In the universe matter and physical space are in permanent dynamic equilibrium.’
    material, substance, stuff, medium
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually with adjective] A particular substance:
      ‘organic matter’
      ‘faecal matter’
      • ‘The idea worked with vegetable matter but slugs, being slimier, tended to clog an essential filter.’
      • ‘Students of a nearby school found poisonous organic matter in water samples they studied.’
      • ‘If your soil is high in clay or sand, add organic matter to break up clay particles for better drainage.’
      • ‘The grey colour and the preservation of organic matter reflect waterlogged conditions and reducing pore waters.’
      • ‘Layers of leaves or other organic matter are sometimes added to speed decomposition.’
      • ‘Five of the sites were sandy soils and five were clays or soils high in organic matter.’
      • ‘Be careful not to overmix the layers, as this can bury organic matter too deeply.’
      • ‘Whether the soil is heavy clay or sandy and very free draining, it can be greatly improved by the addition of bulky organic matter.’
      • ‘It can be discounted here because of the absence of clay minerals and organic matter in freshly erupted ash.’
      • ‘If an animal consumes both meat and vegetable matter, what is the scientific term by which it is called?’
      • ‘What happens is without the addition of organic matter, the soil in our gardens eventually become lifeless.’
      • ‘This basically boils down to adding lots of lovely organic matter.’
      • ‘They eat vegetable matter, dead insects and reportedly even enjoy dining on the odd bird dropping.’
      • ‘The latrines had a heater beneath, which would burn the faecal matter slowly without causing any smell.’
      • ‘Compost is the living, black material that is made from rotting fruits, grains and other organic matter.’
      • ‘Beans interplanted with corn help add organic matter and fix nitrogen at the same time.’
      • ‘Soils with more clay and organic matter tend to hold water and dissolved chemicals longer.’
      • ‘Clean out all of the warm weather crops and add organic matter and fertilizer and work them well into the soil.’
      • ‘The most important of all the routine is the checking of the faecal matter of the animal and how it urinates.’
      • ‘More often than not these kinds of infections are caused through faecal matter but there were no reports of any incidents of that sort on that day.’
      material, substance, stuff, medium
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Written or printed material:
      ‘reading matter’
      • ‘One certainty is that you will not fill the void with personal jottings or reading matter.’
      • ‘Note, too, the excellent timeline and illustrated reading matter.’
      • ‘The wall of shelves behind me contains more printed matter and a host of highly various items.’
      • ‘Information is provided on the availability of reading matter and its suitability.’
      • ‘Sometimes you need reading matter from a universe without emotional complications.’
      • ‘For want of something better to say today, here's a couple of rather wonderful quotes from my present reading matter.’
      • ‘But the middle classes demanded cheaper and more accessible reading matter.’
      • ‘A similar dearth of reading matter prevails in other school subjects.’
      • ‘Men don't bring that perspective to their reading matter.’
      • ‘I am not one to equivocate the past so I will move on to current reading matter.’
      • ‘Reading matter is transcribed into Braille for her, and she also uses audiotapes.’
      • ‘Many toilets now place reading matter above the urinal so that you don't even have to think about either eye contact or talking.’
      • ‘Any readers who can suggest suitable reading matter or anything else to keep him amused would be doing me a favour.’
      • ‘After that Herb always sent me reading matter by various Indonesia experts.’
      • ‘We grew impatient waiting for the next dose of reading matter.’
      • ‘I have finished the books I am reviewing and have come to the magic moment when I get to choose some reading matter.’
      • ‘Any course on psychotherapy should include this book as additional reading matter.’
      • ‘Reading matter in the form of newspapers and magazines was available.’
      • ‘This is no modern day phenomenon, as I discovered in my reading matter.’
      • ‘I've seen people have all kinds of reading matter in the bathroom, whether it's on a shelf, on the floor or in a dedicated rack.’
    3. 1.3Printing The body of a printed work, as distinct from titles, headings, etc.
  • 2A subject or situation under consideration:

    ‘a great deal of work was done on this matter’
    ‘financial matters’
    • ‘The cabinet consideration of those matters is appropriate and I stand by it.’
    • ‘What is being ruled out by these considerations is doubt concerning matters which are fundamental to our linguistic and other practices.’
    • ‘A brief consideration of the matter shows that it is a serious situation.’
    • ‘You can trust your intuition and gut feelings about family situations and professional matters.’
    • ‘They were asking me about it last night, and I started trying to explain when the subject turned to other matters.’
    • ‘Within this latter group lies cutlery, perhaps the most banal and uninteresting of eating-related subject matters.’
    • ‘It was this experience that called my attention to the matter under consideration.’
    • ‘A Scottish Executive spokesman said matters arising from the inquiry were a matter for the Crown Office.’
    • ‘The summiteers would like to keep their meeting focused on bilateral matters.’
    • ‘First, there are the occasional free-ranging debates on matters of great issue.’
    • ‘It was time to turn the subject back to the matter at hand.’
    • ‘Magistrates were also asked to take 53 further matters into consideration.’
    • ‘He paused, having nothing further to say on the matter and then changed subject.’
    • ‘A spokesman said later that they were taking an interest and were giving the matter careful consideration.’
    • ‘I don't see how one can be objective about subjective matters.’
    • ‘The fact is, most of us find financial matters rather dull and often complicated.’
    • ‘He has no say in the decision, but said he had urged the council to give the matter serious consideration.’
    • ‘All the above noted issues are matters for discussion and consideration.’
    • ‘In recent years the matter has been subjected to renewed debate, yet it is still poorly understood.’
    • ‘The falling bodily strength of teenagers is a matter requiring serious consideration on a national level.’
    affair, business, proceeding, situation, circumstance, event, happening, occurrence, incident, episode, occasion, experience, thing
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Law Something which is to be tried or proved in court; a case.
      • ‘This, assuming he is honest and vigilant, he should be able to do, at any rate when the matter comes before the court.’
      • ‘By the time the matter came before the Court of Appeal, in December 2000, the Act had come into force.’
      • ‘Accordingly the Full Court ordered that the matter be remitted to the primary judge.’
      • ‘Of course, it will be open to the claimants to place the matter before the Court of Appeal if so advised.’
      • ‘Admittedly, the second applicant could have brought the matter before the High Court.’
    2. 2.2matters The present state of affairs:
      ‘we can do nothing to change matters’
      • ‘As if to further even up matters, both sides fielded with a number of notable absentees.’
      • ‘To make matters worse, our affair had been common knowledge amongst most members of her family.’
      • ‘His defence of spin is not unreasonable: of course politicians do what they can to present matters in the light that reflects best on them.’
      • ‘The exploitation of the oil fields has further complicated matters and pushed the possibility of a peaceful settlement further away.’
      • ‘It has to be said that this was a very poor affair and to make matters even worse from a Johnville point of view, they lost the game.’
      transactions, concerns, matters, activities, dealings, undertakings, ventures, proceedings
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    3. 2.3 The substance or content of a text as distinct from its style or form.
      • ‘It's also not a show that's performed very often - and having seen the content matter, I can see why.’
      content, subject matter, text, argument, substance, thesis, sense, purport, gist, pith, essentials, burden
      View synonyms
    4. 2.4Logic The particular content of a proposition, as distinct from its form.
  • 3the matter[with negative or in questions] The reason for distress or a problem:

    ‘what's the matter?’
    • ‘Two years ago I would have wondered what was the matter with the dog.’
    • ‘That sentence might be a Rorschach test: if you find nothing much the matter with it, you are an unsaved academic.’
    • ‘The only road to the two farms is by the lane which has been used for centuries, so what is the matter with it now?’
    • ‘I don't know what's the matter with me but obviously I was off sick the day that the lobotomies were done at school.’
    • ‘If you do not find him funny there is something the matter with you.’
    • ‘This morning when I got up heavy lidded and still half asleep he wondered what was the matter with me.’
    • ‘What's the matter with the good old reliable stuff you already had?’
    • ‘There's nothing the matter with practical training for the immediate future.’
    • ‘What's the matter with you, do you really hate being part of this band so much?’
    • ‘What is the matter with me?’
    • ‘What is the matter with this man and his brain-to-mouth impediment?’
    • ‘That rational part of me says, it's just another wave, what's the matter with you?’
    problem, trouble, difficulty, upset, distress, worry, bother, complication
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1[usually with negative or in questions] Be important or significant:

    ‘it doesn't matter what the guests wear’
    ‘what did it matter to them?’
    • ‘It didn't matter to them who they were drawn against in the quarterfinal.’
    • ‘However, that didn't matter to the vociferous home support who cheered their side's maiden league victory to the echo.’
    • ‘It doesn't really matter to me who is prime minister, who's president, who has what job.’
    • ‘Football is a pretty good example: you can usually tell when the result of a game doesn't matter to one side.’
    • ‘Sure it's nice if they needed the money or whatever, but if I don't see a penny of it, then it don't matter to me.’
    • ‘When I was younger I never really cared much for this, as it didn't seem to matter to me.’
    • ‘It didn't seem to matter to Paul - within seconds he was able to answer your query.’
    • ‘This, understandably, didn't matter to those decked out in blue and red.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter to me, but, again, I thought it might be important to some.’
    • ‘Ideas matter to all of us who enter public life, particularly at the national level.’
    • ‘It didn't really matter to me who won last night in Melbourne.’
    • ‘I don't think it mattered to him and I suspect it didn't matter to most of the audience.’
    • ‘Racing should welcome the white paper because at long last the government are tackling issues which matter to punters.’
    • ‘You know, you may feel good or bad about who wins, but it doesn't really matter to your life.’
    • ‘Material things are not important and don't matter to us anymore.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter to me whether it's a big game or one in the lower divisions.’
    • ‘For instance, we purposefully deflect our gaze from features that would normally matter to us.’
    • ‘Things that used to matter to her before didn't matter now that she had this.’
    • ‘You bet, but money was on the line, and that, I'm afraid, is the only loyalty that should matter to a professional gambler.’
    • ‘It didn't matter to the producers what the name actually meant.’
    make any difference, make a difference, be important, be of importance, be of consequence, signify, be of significance, be relevant, be of account, carry weight, count
    importance, consequence, significance, note, import, moment, weight, interest
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) be important or influential:
      ‘she was trying to get known by the people who matter’
      be influential, have influence, be important
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  • 2US rare (of a wound) secrete or discharge pus.

    fester, form pus, swell up, gather, discharge, rot, run, weep, ooze, come to a head
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • for that matter

    • Used to indicate that a subject, though mentioned second, is as relevant as the first:

      ‘I am not sure what value it adds to determining public, or for that matter private, policy’
      • ‘I would never want to be around someone like her, or her loser brother for that matter.’
      • ‘What effect did it have on the scholars around the world, and for that matter, the public?’
      • ‘In my day we never dreamed of billing and cooing in public, or in private for that matter.’
      • ‘There is no room for second best in this industry or in any industry for that matter.’
      • ‘Odd, as today wasn't all that cold, and nor was yesterday, for that matter, but there you go.’
      • ‘Can we imagine that he would still be teaching, or for that matter that he would be anything more than a pariah?’
      • ‘No, it is not like I was a model to be emulated in school, or college for that matter.’
      • ‘What does it mean to have a professional life or a private life for that matter?’
      • ‘One has to add considerable extra time to one's journey just to get out of town or into it, for that matter.’
      • ‘Much more enjoyable, dare I say, and for that matter considerably more informative.’
  • in the matter of

    • As regards:

      ‘the British are given pre-eminence in the matter of tea’
      • ‘I believe this is precisely the case in the matter of whether or not to extend the arm before the lunge, as it is in so many others.’
      • ‘It is not so easy to justify extravagance in the matter of funerals.’
      • ‘But my sympathy is entirely with him in the matter of this guy squirting water into his face.’
      • ‘The mind of human beings is too complex and too unpredictable, especially in the matter of love, of relationships and of love.’
      • ‘But it isn't only in the matter of sharing water that the states tend to act in an irresponsible manner.’
      • ‘It has also proved unfair to women, leaving out choice in the matter of reproductive rights.’
      • ‘But corruption is rife in the matter of distribution of cards and relief goods.’
      • ‘It is highly influential in the matter of selling wine to restaurants, hotels and high-income consumers.’
      • ‘To her further credit, she has also agreed to let sanity be our guide in the matter of whether a medium-sized family suitcase is any place for a surfboard.’
      • ‘I have received some enlightenment in the matter of column position.’
      regarding, concerning, with reference to, referring to, with regard to, with respect to, respecting, relating to, in relation to, on, touching on, dealing with, relevant to, with relevance to, in the context of, connected with, on the subject of, in the matter of, apropos, re
      View synonyms
  • it is only a matter of time

    • There will not be long to wait:

      ‘it's only a matter of time before the general is removed’
      • ‘All products are merged into one another, and it is only a matter of time before it is out of your control and there is one single super-product left.’
      • ‘I think it is only a matter of time with Michael, but we can't wait on that.’
      • ‘Going by the recent weather it is only a matter of time before someone invents an umbrella with sun cream dispenser at the handle.’
      • ‘Remember, if such lawlessness is allowed to go unchecked it is only a matter of time before you become the next victim.’
      • ‘They say it is only a matter of time before someone is injured.’
      • ‘Publicans and members of the public there feel it is only a matter of time before the ban is introduced across Europe.’
      • ‘But they have pledged to be back next year, and say it is only a matter of time before they register their first success in the borough.’
      • ‘But barring ill health on his part, it is only a matter of time until he becomes chairman.’
      • ‘Given the speed at which these vehicles approach the blind corners in the village it is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs.’
      • ‘Knowing the standard of magazines in our house, it is only a matter of time…’
  • a matter of

    • 1No more than (a specified period of time):

      ‘they were shown the door in a matter of minutes’
      • ‘Police have condemned the youngsters involved in at least four incidents in a matter of weeks.’
      • ‘We didn't have to wait too long though and got seated in a matter of ten minutes or so.’
      • ‘In a matter of seconds the door was off its hinges.’
      • ‘Then, if an unexpected caller knocks at the door, the resident is able to summon help in a matter of minutes.’
      • ‘Whatever they decide their whole future will be decided in a matter of a couple of minutes.’
      • ‘He was on his feet and out the door in a matter of seconds.’
      • ‘It was getting towards sun down, and she reached her apartment in a matter of 25 minutes.’
      • ‘Some cab customers may think it's just a matter of luck that a driver is at their door in a matter of minutes.’
      • ‘The water is very cold and hypothermia can occur in a matter of minutes if exposed to the water.’
      • ‘It only needs to take you a matter of minutes every month, but it will help us to literally change the world.’
    • 2A thing that involves or depends on:

      ‘it's a matter of working out how to get something done’
      • ‘Whether his political standpoint is your cup of tea is a matter of choice.’
      • ‘It's a matter of all the players involved in the club progressing on from last year.’
      • ‘This is more than just a liberal cause, it is a matter of basic principle - and it involves us all.’
      • ‘The extent to which that strategy needed to be dependent on the computer is a matter of dispute.’
      • ‘Tea terminology is a matter of concern to tea drinkers and also to cooks who are using tea as a flavouring.’
    • 3Something that evokes (a specified feeling):

      ‘it's a matter of complete indifference to me’
      • ‘The nature of their current relationship must remain a matter for conjecture.’
      • ‘I think that perhaps the best way for me to cope with being over-weight is to make it a matter for jollity.’
      • ‘If his behaviour becomes a matter for moderator concern, that's a bit different.’
      • ‘What is a matter for concern is that no one said a word to these children.’
      • ‘His death is no more a matter for public grief than the death of my grandmother.’
      • ‘By the later Middle Ages, the right to a coat of arms had become a matter for social pride and strict control.’
      • ‘On this basis, the spillage of a million tons of oil is indeed a matter for ecological concern.’
      • ‘That human rights enjoy such prestige is a matter for rejoicing, but it is somewhat beside the point.’
      • ‘If Australia somehow pull off victory this week, it should not be a matter for national mourning.’
  • a matter of course

    • The usual or expected thing:

      ‘the reports are published as a matter of course’
      • ‘As a matter of course, we refer outstanding accounts to a debt collection agency and take legal action against bad debtors.’
      • ‘Incoming e-mail is scanned for viruses as a matter of course, but that didn't help with this problem.’
      • ‘Sponsors want a return on their investment and visual awareness, through branding, is a matter of course.’
      • ‘It is expected the medal will be issued as a matter of course, and it's unlikely serving members will be required to apply for it.’
      • ‘Shouting as others talk is a matter of course, and as long as you don't use the word liar it seems that you can say pretty much anything.’
      • ‘It is so much an everyday sight that we take it as a matter of course.’
      • ‘Under the Hanoverians the heir to the throne supported opposition to his father's government almost as a matter of course.’
      • ‘There is a flow and an intermingling, a cross-fertilisation, that takes place as a matter of course.’
      • ‘It should be a matter of course for the medical profession to make the public aware of all their options and allow them to make their own decisions.’
      • ‘They should just do this kind of work as a matter of course.’
  • a matter of form

    • A point of correct procedure:

      ‘they must as a matter of proper form check to see that there is no tax liability’
      • ‘But, as a matter of form, they had to produce one.’
      • ‘If he is a just man who protects the poor he will be popular and will not need an electoral mandate, except as a matter of form.’
      • ‘Your Honour, the only other matter is that, as a matter of form, I submit, the condition should be against the Commonwealth, rather than the Attorney.’
      • ‘The lessee would have a reasonable expectation that the consent is really only a matter of form by that stage.’
      • ‘Up to now I always took such statements as being a matter of form, something that judges say as a way of consoling those who didn't win.’
      • ‘As a matter of form, identical rent review provisions are contained in the underlease as in the lease.’
      • ‘It is not the appreciation, but the abuse of liberty, to withdraw altogether from the polls, or to visit them merely as a matter of form, without carefully investigating the merits of the candidates.’
      • ‘This is not a matter of form but impinges on a fundamental principle of separation of powers and detracts from any necessary guarantee against the possibility of abuse.’
      • ‘First, the highly-detailed acreage and storage estimates were released as a matter of form.’
      • ‘In my judgment, it cannot be said that, as a matter of form, the Council have created a fetter upon their discretion.’
  • a matter of record

    • A thing that is established as a fact through being officially recorded:

      ‘it is a matter of record that the bank deposited £50 million’
      ‘his adherence to the Liberal Party is a matter of record’
      • ‘But everything up to the last assertion is a matter of record.’
      • ‘All I know is that his vote is a matter of record and something for him to explain.’
      • ‘His significance has become a matter of record; his reputation is now beyond reproach.’
      • ‘It is a matter of record that I had to send lawyer's letters before I could get access to some of the financial information.’
      • ‘It's now a matter of record that the foundation had in fact been massively under-funded.’
      • ‘As a matter of record, New York City spends a higher portion of its budget on instruction and associated costs within the schools themselves than any of the other 100 largest districts in the nation.’
      • ‘The facts are a matter of record and any interested party can go to the library and pull out the newspapers of the day and they can acquaint themselves with those facts.’
      • ‘It is a matter of record that the Government has devised a long-term anti-corruption strategy and has committed itself to implementing it.’
      • ‘All of those statements are a matter of record which can be shown to the jury.’
      • ‘As a matter of record, he died in 1997.’
  • no matter

    • 1[with clause]Regardless of:

      ‘no matter what the government calls them, they are cuts’
      • ‘No matter how much she begs, no matter how much she pleads, it's just not going to happen.’
      • ‘Unfortunately it's up to victims to stop them, no matter how long ago it happened.’
      • ‘These are all values and standards of note no matter who you are or what you believe!’
      • ‘No matter how many times they were said and no matter who said them, comments like that always stung.’
      • ‘She would never turn her back on me, no matter what I did, and it's the same for me.’
      • ‘Let us all pray that the justice system will pursue the truth no matter where it leads.’
      • ‘The human spirit is basically the same no matter what area of the world you are in or come from.’
      • ‘You don't have to take every call at any time, no matter how important you may wish to look.’
      • ‘No matter how bad it gets and no matter how much I pout, you always take my sadness as a real problem.’
      • ‘It is important for women to be informed, no matter how much stress it may cause them.’
    • 2It is of no importance:

      ‘no matter, I'll go myself’
      • ‘Time will tell if it is more than a piece of military muscle-flexing, but no matter.’
      it doesn't matter, it makes no difference, it makes no odds, it's unimportant, never mind, don't apologize, don't worry about it, don't mention it
      View synonyms
  • to make matters worse

    • With the result that a bad situation is made worse:

      ‘to make matters worse, free school meals have been withdrawn’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, there may be a lengthy struggle to win redundancy cash for employees.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Monet was having difficulty selling his paintings and, to make matters worse, Camille was in need of almost constant care.’
      • ‘And, to make matters worse, there is much misunderstanding concerning a few of these high arts and the accusation of being elitist.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse in my dream, I was sitting next to an old friend who absolutely refused to recognize me.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, footpaths that were flat prior to the commencement of the work are now angled and uneven.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, we live in a far more complex world today than we did 30 years ago.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, the bloody landlord won't turn on the heat.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, when I tried to get back in, the bouncer wouldn't let me because he said I was too drunk.’
      • ‘Then to make matters worse, we haven't had any television either.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, when I got in there, he was standing there!’
  • what matter?

    • dated Why should that worry us?:

      ‘They were in collusion. But what matter, since apparently he didn't care?’

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin materia timber, substance, also subject of discourse, from mater mother.

Pronunciation:

matter

/ˈmatə/