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Webster 1913 Edition


Matter

Mat′ter

,
Noun.
[OE.
matere
, F.
matière
, fr. L.
materia
; perh. akin to L.
mater
mother. Cf.
Mother
,
Madeira
,
Material
.]
1.
That of which anything is composed; constituent substance; material; the material or substantial part of anything; the constituent elements of conception; that into which a notion may be analyzed; the essence; the pith; the embodiment.
He is the
matter
of virtue.
B. Jonson.
2.
That of which the sensible universe and all existent bodies are composed; anything which has extension, occupies space, or is perceptible by the senses; body; substance.
Matter is usually divided by philosophical writers into three kinds or classes: solid, liquid, and gaseous. Solid substances are those whose parts firmly cohere and resist impression, as wood or stone. Liquids have free motion among their parts, and easily yield to impression, as water and wine. Gaseous substances are elastic fluids, called vapors and gases, as air and oxygen gas.
3.
That with regard to, or about which, anything takes place or is done; the thing aimed at, treated of, or treated; subject of action, discussion, consideration, feeling, complaint, legal action, or the like; theme.
“If the matter should be tried by duel.”
Bacon.
Son of God, Savior of men! Thy name
Shall be the copious
matter
of my song.
Milton.
Every great
matter
they shall bring unto thee, but every small
matter
they shall judge.
Ex. xviii. 22.
4.
That which one has to treat, or with which one has to do; concern; affair; business.
To help the
matter
, the alchemists call in many vanities out of astrology.
Bacon.
Some young female seems to have carried
matters
so far, that she is ripe for asking advice.
Spectator.
5.
Affair worthy of account; thing of consequence; importance; significance; moment; – chiefly in the phrases what matter? no matter, and the like.
A prophet some, and some a poet, cry;
No
matter
which, so neither of them lie.
Dryden.
6.
Inducing cause or occasion, especially of anything disagreeable or distressing; difficulty; trouble.
And this is the
matter
why interpreters upon that passage in Hosea will not consent it to be a true story, that the prophet took a harlot to wife.
Milton.
7.
Amount; quantity; portion; space; – often indefinite.
Away he goes, . . . a
matter
of seven miles.
L’ Estrange.
I have thoughts to tarry a small
matter
.
Congreve.
No small
matter
of British forces were commanded over sea the year before.
Milton.
8.
Substance excreted from living animal bodies; that which is thrown out or discharged in a tumor, boil, or abscess; pus; purulent substance.
9.
(Metaph.)
That which is permanent, or is supposed to be given, and in or upon which changes are effected by psychological or physical processes and relations; – opposed to
form
.
Mansel.
10.
(Print.)
Written manuscript, or anything to be set in type; copy; also, type set up and ready to be used, or which has been used, in printing.
Dead matter
(Print.)
,
type which has been used, or which is not to be used, in printing, and is ready for distribution.
Live matter
(Print.)
,
type set up, but not yet printed from.
Matter in bar
,
Matter of fact
.
See under
Bar
, and
Fact
.
Matter of record
,
anything recorded.
Upon the matter
, or
Upon the whole matter
,
considering the whole; taking all things into view; all things considered.
Waller, with Sir William Balfour, exceeded in horse, but were,
upon the whole matter
, equal in foot.
Clarendon.

Mat′ter

,
Verb.
I.
[
imp. & p. p.
Mattered
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Mattering
.]
1.
To be of importance; to import; to signify.
It
matters
not how they were called.
Locke.
2.
To form pus or matter, as an abscess; to maturate.
[R.]
“Each slight sore mattereth.”
Sir P. Sidney.

Mat′ter

,
Verb.
T.
To regard as important; to take account of; to care for.
[Obs.]
He did not
matter
cold nor hunger.
H. Brooke.

Webster 1828 Edition


Matter

MAT'TER

,
Noun.
[L. materia; Heb. to measure; L. metior.]
1.
Substance excreted from living animal bodies; that which is thrown our of discharged in a tumor,boil or abscess; pus; purulent substance collected in an abscess, the effect of suppuration more or less perfect; as digested matter; sanious matter.
2.
Body; substance extended; that which is visible or tangible; as earth, wood, stone, air, vapor, water.
3.
In a more general and philosophic sense, the substance of which all bodies are composed; the substratum of sensible qualities, though the parts composing the substratum may not be visible or tangible.
Matter is usually divided by philosophical writers into four kinds or classes; solid, liquid; aeriform, and imponderable. Solid substances are those whose parts firmly cohere and resist impression, as wood or stone; liquids have free motion among their parts, and easily yield to impression, as water and wine. Aeriform substances are elastic fluids, called vapors and gases, as air and oxygen gas. The imponderable substances are destitute of weight, as light, caloric, electricity, and magnetism.
4.
Subject; thing treated; that about which we write or speak; that which employs thought or excites emotion; as, this is matter of praise, of gratitude, or of astonishment.
Son of God, Savior of men, thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song.
5.
The very thing supposed or intended.
He grants the deluge to have come so very near the matter, that few escaped.
6.
Affair; business; event; thing; course of things. Matters have succeeded well thus far; observe how matters stand; thus the matter rests at present; thus the matter ended.
To help the matter,the alchimists call in many vanities from astrology.
Some young female seems to have carried matters so far, that she is ripe for asking advice.
7.
Cause of any event, as of any disturbance, of a disease, or of a difficulty. When a moving machine stops suddenly, we ask, what is the matter? When a person is ill, we ask, what is the matter? When a tumult or quarrel takes place, we ask, what is the matter?
8.
Subject of complaint; suit; demand.
If the matter should be tried by duel between two champions--
Every great matter they shall bring to thee, but every small matter they shall judge-- Ex.18.
9.
Import; consequence; importance; moment.
A prophet some, and some a poet cry,
No matter which, so neither of them lie.
10. Space of time; a portion of distance.
I have thoughts to tarry a small matter.
Away he goes, a matter of seven miles--
[In these last senses,the use of matter is now vulgar.]
Upon the matter, considering the whole; taking all things into view. This phrase is now obsolete; but in lieu of it, we sometimes use, upon the whole matter.
Waller, with Sir William Balfour, exceeded in horse, but were, upon the whole matter, equal in foot.
Matter of record, that which is recorded, or which may be proved by record.

MAT'TER

,
Verb.
I.
To be of importance; to import; used with it, this, that, or what. This matters not; that matters not; chiefly used in negative phrases; as, what matters it?
It matters not how they are called, so we know who they are.
1.
To maturate; to form pus; to collect, as matter in an abscess.
Each slight sore mattereth. [Little used.]
[We now use maturate.]

MAT'TER

,
Verb.
T.
To regard. [Not used.]

Definition 2022


matter

matter

See also: måtter

English

Noun

matter (countable and uncountable, plural matters)

  1. Substance, material.
    1. (physics) The basic structural component of the universe. Matter usually has mass and volume.
    2. (physics) Matter made up of normal particles, not antiparticles. (Non-antimatter matter).
    3. A kind of substance.
      vegetable matter
    4. Written material (especially in books or magazines).
      printed matter;   He always took some reading matter with him on the plane.
    5. (philosophy) Aristotelian: undeveloped potentiality subject to change and development; formlessness. Matter receives form, and becomes substance.
  2. A condition, subject or affair, especially one of concern.
    What's the matter?;   state matters
    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
      if the matter should be tried by duel
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      Son of God, Saviour of men! Thy name / Shall be the copious matter of my song.
    • Bible, Exodus xviii. 22
      Every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; [] . Now she had come to look upon the matter in its true proportions, and her anticipation of a possible chance of teaching him a lesson was a pleasure to behold.
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      The matter of whether the world needs a fourth Ice Age movie pales beside the question of why there were three before it, but Continental Drift feels less like an extension of a theatrical franchise than an episode of a middling TV cartoon, lolling around on territory that’s already been settled.
  3. An approximate amount or extent.
    I stayed for a matter of months.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      No small matter of British forces were commanded over sea the year before.
    • Roger L'Estrange (1616-1704)
      Away he goes, [] a matter of seven miles.
    • William Congreve (1670-1729)
      I have thoughts to tarry a small matter.
  4. (obsolete) The essence; the pith; the embodiment.
    • Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
      He is the matter of virtue.
  5. (obsolete) Inducing cause or reason, especially of anything disagreeable or distressing.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      And this is the matter why interpreters upon that passage in Hosea will not consent it to be a true story, that the prophet took a harlot to wife.
  6. (dated) Pus.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Verb

matter (third-person singular simple present matters, present participle mattering, simple past and past participle mattered)

  1. (intransitive) To be important.
    The only thing that matters to Jim is being rich.
    Sorry for pouring ketchup on your clean white shirt! - Oh, don't worry, it does not matter.
    • 1915, George A. Birmingham, chapter I”, in Gossamer (Project Gutenberg; EBook #24394), London: Methuen & Co., published 8 January 2013 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 558189256:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, []. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. [] I do not suppose that it matters much in reality whether laws are made by dukes or cornerboys, but I like, as far as possible, to associate with gentlemen in private life.
    • 2011 April 10, Alistair Magowan, Aston Villa 1-0 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport:
      Despite further attempts by Agbonlahor and Young, however, they could not find the goal to reward their endeavour.
      It mattered little as Newcastle's challenge faded and Villa began to dominate the game in midfield, and it was only Barton's continued sense of injustice that offered the visitors any spark in a tame contest.
  2. (transitive, obsolete outside dialects) To care about, to mind; to find important.
  3. To form pus or matter, as an abscess; to maturate.

Derived terms

Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: public · others · anything · #289: matter · passed · true · friend

French

Verb

matter

  1. Alternative spelling of mater

Conjugation

Anagrams


German

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈmatɐ/

Adjective

matter

  1. strong masculine singular nominative form of matt.
  2. strong feminine singular genitive form of matt.
  3. strong feminine singular dative form of matt.
  4. strong plural genitive form of matt.
  5. mixed masculine singular nominative form of matt.
  6. comparative degree of matt

Middle French

Alternative forms

Verb

matter

  1. to checkmate

Conjugation

  • Middle French conjugation varies from one text to another. Hence, the following conjugation should be considered as typical, not as exhaustive.

Norwegian Bokmål

Noun

matter m, f

  1. indefinite plural of matte (Etymology 1)

Norwegian Nynorsk

Noun

matter f

  1. indefinite plural of matte (Etymology 1)