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(1)   That which has mass and occupies space
"An atom is the smallest indivisible unit of matter"
(2)   (used with negation) having consequence
"They were friends and it was no matter who won the games"
(3)   A vaguely specified concern
"Several matters to attend to"
"It is none of your affair"
"Things are going well"
(4)   A problem
"Is anything the matter?"
(5)   Some situation or event that is thought about
"He kept drifting off the topic"
"He had been thinking about the subject for several years"
"It is a matter for the police"
(6)   Written works (especially in books or magazines)
"He always took some reading matter with him on the plane"


(7)   Have weight; have import, carry weight
"It does not matter much"


From mater, matere from matere, materie from materie, matiere from materia (matter, stuff, material), derivative of Latin mater "mother". Displaced native andweorc, andwork "material, matter" (from andweorc "matter, substance, material"), intinga "matter, affair, business".


  1. The basic structural component of the universe. Matter usually has mass and volume.
    • 1924: ARISTOTLE. Metaphysics. Translated by W. D. Ross. Nashotah, Wisconsin, USA: The Classical Library, 2001.
      Parmenides seems to fasten on that which is one in definition, Melissus on that which is one in matter,
  2. Matter made up of normal particles, not antiparticles. (Non-antimatter matter).
  3. A kind of substance.
    vegetable matter
  4. A reason for concern; being amiss.
    What's the matter?
  5. A situation.
    a trivial matter
  6. A cause.
    a matter for concern
  7. Written material (especially in books or magazines)
    He always took some reading matter with him on the plane
  8. Gray and white matter are the two nerve tissue types that comprise the brain and spinal cord.


  1. 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.
  2. To care about, to mind; to find important.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 47:
      Besides, if it had been out of doors I had not mattered it so much; but with my own servant, in my own house, under my own roof [...]