the substance or substances of which any physical object consists or is composed:
the matter of which the earth is made.
physical or corporeal substance in general, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, especially as distinguished from incorporeal substance, as spirit or mind, or from qualities, actions, and the like.
something that occupies space.
a particular kind of substance:
coloring matter.
a situation, state, affair, or business:
a trivial matter.
an amount or extent reckoned approximately:
a matter of 10 miles.
something of consequence:
matter for serious thought.
importance or significance:
decisions of little matter.
difficulty; trouble (usually preceded by the):
There is something the matter.
ground, reason, or cause:
a matter for complaint.
the material or substance of a discourse, book, etc., often as distinguished from its form.
things put down in words, especially printed:
reading matter.
things sent by mail:
postal matter.
a substance discharged by a living body, especially pus.

that which by integrative organization forms chemical substances and living things.
Aristotelianism. that which relates to form as potentiality does to actuality.

Law. statement or allegation.

material for work; copy.
type set up.

Christian Science. the concept of substance shaped by the limitations of the human mind.
to be of importance; signify:
It matters little.
Pathology. to suppurate.
a matter of life and death, something of vital or crucial importance.
as a matter of fact, in reality; actually; in fact:
As a matter of fact, there is no substance to that rumor.
for that matter, as far as that is concerned; as for that:
For that matter, you are no better qualified to judge than I.
Also, for the matter of that.
no matter,

regardless or irrespective of:
We’ll never finish on time, no matter how hard we work.
it is unimportant; it makes no difference:
No matter, this string will do as well as any other.

1 .
having a dull or lusterless surface:
matte paint; a matte complexion; a photograph with a matte finish.
a dull or dead surface, often slightly roughened, as on metals, paint, paper, or glass.
a tool for producing such a surface.
Metallurgy. an unfinished metallic product of the smelting of certain sulfide ores, especially those of copper.
Movies. .
to finish with a matte surface.
Contemporary Examples

She also insisted that no matter the results in Iowa, her campaign will go on.
Michele Bachmann’s Last Stand: Campaign May End in Iowa Patricia Murphy January 2, 2012

The success that followed 16 years later was a matter of happenstance, not of strategy.
Fool’s Gold David Frum February 12, 2013

Bill Clinton—and, for that matter, John F. Kennedy—was personally reckless but politically cautious.
Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns Are Irrelevant to the Presidential Race Peter Beinart August 5, 2012

I have no real choice in the matter, regardless of what the ABO or ABP or ABMS say.
Rand Paul and the Certification Racket Russell Saunders August 10, 2014

And no matter what the doubters say, double down on bipartisanship.
Obama’s Gameplan John Avlon February 23, 2009

Historical Examples

But no matter for that now; only that I would that Robin Hood were here to advise us.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle

That he was constantly cheerful proved the matter of his musings to be pleasant.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

Some object to liver, therefore the use of it is a matter of taste.
Culture and Cooking Catherine Owen

Shepler and the party were to go through the mine as a matter of sight-seeing.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

It is a matter of pure interest and mutual convenience that binds us.
Roland Cashel Charles James Lever

that which makes up something, esp a physical object; material
substance that occupies space and has mass, as distinguished from substance that is mental, spiritual, etc
substance of a specified type: vegetable matter, reading matter
sometimes foll by of or for. thing; affair; concern; question: a matter of taste, several matters to attend to, no laughing matter
a quantity or amount: a matter of a few pence
the content of written or verbal material as distinct from its style or form
(used with a negative) importance; consequence
(philosophy) (in the writings of Aristotle and the Scholastics) that which is itself formless but can receive form and become substance
(philosophy) (in the Cartesian tradition) one of two basic modes of existence, the other being mind: matter being extended in space as well as time

type set up, either standing or for use
copy to be set in type

a secretion or discharge, such as pus

something to be proved
statements or allegations to be considered by a court

for that matter, as regards that
See grey matter
no matter

regardless of; irrespective of: no matter what the excuse, you must not be late
(sentence substitute) it is unimportant

the matter, wrong; the trouble: there’s nothing the matter
verb (intransitive)
to be of consequence or importance
to form and discharge pus
adjective, noun, verb
variant spellings of mat2 (sense 2), mat1 (sense 3), mat2 (sense 5)
an impure fused material consisting of metal sulphides produced during the smelting of a sulphide ore
(films, television) a mask used to blank out part of an image so that another image can be superimposed

c.1200, materie, “subject of thought, speech, or expression,” from Anglo-French matere, Old French matere “subject, theme, topic; substance, content, material; character, education” (12c., Modern French matière), from Latin materia “substance from which something is made,” also “hard inner wood of a tree” (cf. Portuguese madeira “wood”), from mater “origin, source, mother” (see mother (n.1)). Or, on another theory, it represents *dmateria, from PIE root *dem-/*dom- (cf. Latin domus “house,” English timber). With sense development in Latin influenced by Greek hyle, of which it was the equivalent in philosophy.

Meaning “physical substance generally, matter, material” is early 14c.; that of “substance of which some specific object is made or consists of” is attested from late 14c. That of “piece of business, affair, activity, situation, circumstance” is from late 14c. From mid-14c. as “subject of a literary work, content of what is written, main theme.” Also in Middle English as “cause, reasons, ground; essential character; field of investigation.”

Matter of course “something expected” attested from 1739. For that matter attested from 1670s. What is the matter “what concerns (someone), the cause of the difficulty” is attested from mid-15c. To make no matter “be no difference to” also is mid-15c.

“to be of importance or consequence,” 1580s, from matter (n.). Related: Mattered; mattering.

variant of mat (n.2).

matter mat·ter (māt’ər)

Something that occupies space and can be perceived by one or more senses.

A specific type of substance.

Discharge or waste, such as pus or feces, from a living organism.

Something that has mass. Most of the matter in the universe is composed of atoms which are themselves composed of subatomic particles. See also energy, state of matter.

In physics, something that has mass and is distinct from energy. (See phases of matter.)

Related Terms

gray matter

matter of course, a
matter of fact, a
matter of life and death, a
matter of opinion, a

also see:

crux of the matter
for that matter
gray matter
mince matters
mind over matter
no joke (laughing matter)
no matter
the matter

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