Upon the whole matter
Matter Mat"ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[`e]re, 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. [1913 Webster]

He is the matter of virtue. --B. Jonson. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Note: 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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Son of God, Savior of men! Thy name Shall be the copious matter of my song. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge. --Ex. xviii. 22. [1913 Webster]

4. That which one has to treat, or with which one has to do; concern; affair; business. [1913 Webster]

To help the matter, the alchemists call in many vanities out of astrology. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

Some young female seems to have carried matters so far, that she is ripe for asking advice. --Spectator. [1913 Webster]

5. Affair worthy of account; thing of consequence; importance; significance; moment; -- chiefly in the phrases what matter? no matter, and the like. [1913 Webster]

A prophet some, and some a poet, cry; No matter which, so neither of them lie. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

6. Inducing cause or occasion, especially of anything disagreeable or distressing; difficulty; trouble. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

7. Amount; quantity; portion; space; -- often indefinite. [1913 Webster]

Away he goes, . . . a matter of seven miles. --L' Estrange. [1913 Webster]

I have thoughts to tarry a small matter. --Congreve. [1913 Webster]

No small matter of British forces were commanded over sea the year before. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

8. Substance excreted from living animal bodies; that which is thrown out or discharged in a tumor, boil, or abscess; pus; purulent substance. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

{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. [1913 Webster]

Waller, with Sir William Balfour, exceeded in horse, but were, upon the whole matter, equal in foot. --Clarendon. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Upon the matter — Matter Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter — Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter in bar — Matter Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter of fact — Matter Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter of record — Matter Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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