WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
mat•ter /ˈmætɚ/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. [uncountable] the material of which any physical object is composed;
    physical substance, as distinguished from the spirit or the mind.
  2. a particular kind of substance:[uncountable]coloring matter.
  3. a situation;
    event:[countable]a trivial matter.
  4. importance;
    significance:[uncountable]decisions of little matter.
  5. an amount counted approximately:[countable;  singular;+ ~ + of]It's only a matter of time before the police get you (= It's only a short time before they get you).
  6. This phrase is used to introduce the thing needed in order to do or to accomplish something already mentioned:[countable;  singular;+ ~ + of]Using a computer is just a matter of patience and training (= Patience and training are needed to use a computer).
  7. Idiomsthe matter, [countable;  singular;
    the + ~]
    something troubling:Is something the matter?
  8. something written or printed:[uncountable]reading matter.
  9. things sent by mail:[uncountable]postal matter.
  10. Pathology a substance given off by a living body, esp. pus:[uncountable]grayish matter oozing from the wound.

v. [not: be + ~-ing]
  1. to be of importance: [no object]The cost doesn't matter to him.[It + ~ + that clause]It doesn't matter that your hair is too long.
  1. a matter of opinion, a topic on which there may be different opinions:a matter of opinion which of the two dogs is cuter.
  2. Idiomsas a matter of fact, in reality;
    actually:As a matter of fact, I don't care.
  3. Idiomsfor that matter, as far as that is concerned;
    as for that:I don't want you going out with him, or, for that matter, talking to him.
  4. Idiomsno matter, [+ who / what / when / where / how / why] regardless of;
    not making a difference:No matter how hard we try, we always lose.
  5. no matter what, definitely;
    regardless:We'll be there no matter what.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
mat•ter  (matər),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. the substance or substances of which any physical object consists or is composed:the matter of which the earth is made.
  2. Physicsphysical or corporeal substance in general, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, esp. as distinguished from incorporeal substance, as spirit or mind, or from qualities, actions, and the like.
  3. something that occupies space.
  4. a particular kind of substance:coloring matter.
  5. a situation, state, affair, or business:a trivial matter.
  6. an amount or extent reckoned approximately:a matter of 10 miles.
  7. something of consequence:matter for serious thought.
  8. importance or significance:decisions of little matter.
  9. difficulty;
    trouble (usually prec. by the):There is something the matter.
  10. ground, reason, or cause:a matter for complaint.
  11. the material or substance of a discourse, book, etc., often as distinguished from its form.
  12. things put down in words, esp. printed:reading matter.
  13. things sent by mail:postal matter.
  14. Pathologya substance discharged by a living body, esp. pus.
  15. Philosophy
    • that which by integrative organization forms chemical substances and living things.
    • [Aristotelianism.]that which relates to form as potentiality does to actuality.
  16. Lawstatement or allegation.
  17. [Print.]
    • Printingmaterial for work;
    • Printingtype set up.
  18. Religion[Christian Science.]the concept of substance shaped by the limitations of the human mind.
  19. Idiomsa matter of life and death, something of vital or crucial importance.
  20. Idiomsas a matter of fact, in reality;
    in fact:As a matter of fact, there is no substance to that rumor.
  21. Idiomsfor 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. 
  22. no matter: 
    • Idiomsregardless or irrespective of:We'll never finish on time, no matter how hard we work.
    • Idiomsit is unimportant;
      it makes no difference:No matter, this string will do as well as any other.

  1. to be of importance;
    signify:It matters little.
  2. Pathologyto suppurate.
matter•ful, adj. 
matter•less, adj. 
  • Latin māteria woody part of a tree, material, substance, derivative of māter mother1
  • Anglo-French, Old French mat(i)ere, materie
  • Middle English mater(e), materie 1175–1225
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged Matter, material, stuff, substance refer to that of which physical objects are composed (though all these terms are also used abstractly).
      Matter, as distinct from mind and spirit, is a broad word that applies to anything perceived, or known to be occupying space:solid matter; gaseous matter.Material usually means some definite kind, quality, or quantity of matter, esp. as intended for use:woolen material; a house built of good materials.Stuff, a less technical word, with approximately the same meanings as
      material, is characterized by being on an informal level when it refers to physical objects (Dynamite is queer stuff), and on a literary or poetic one when it is used abstractly (the stuff that dreams are made on).
      Substance is the matter that composes a thing, thought of in relation to its essential properties:a sticky substance.
    • 5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged question.
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged concern.
    • 8.See corresponding entry in Unabridged moment.
    • 11.See corresponding entry in Unabridged subject, topic.
    • 23.See corresponding entry in Unabridged count.

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